Wow, Thanks, Help

Some years ago, author Anne Lamott wrote a book titled, Help, Thanks, Wow. Anne is a contemporary author. Help, Thanks, Wow is probably her eighth or ninth book. Anne could probably be described as a quirky writer who after facing and dealing with her alcoholism, drug addiction, and poor choice of romantic partners, gradually surfaces from those years of being underwater and finds hope and acceptance at a small, Af-American church in Oakland, CA. From that starting point, Anne has found life in the daily ordinariness of life. It is where she finds hope and it is what she writes about. Finding meaning in the ordinariness of living, messy though it is some days. Maybe most days.

In my ongoing quest for all things HOPE, I think WOW, THANKS, and HELP are part of HOPE.


During this month of October, I have ben WOWED by the beauty of fall color. Driving through Wisconsin on to Minneapolis to visit family, the colors became more and more vibrant. I would have needed a calculator to track how many times we said “WOW!” The beauty continued as we explored outlying areas of Minneapolis. Color and lakes in the fall are pretty WOW-y in the Midwest.

WOW leads to THANKS

Whatever name you give to a Being greater than you or me, THANKS shouts out for this world of color and lakes, oceans and mountains, incredible technology, the smile of a toddler, the miracle of birth, the courage of aging, the kindness of strangers. An example: Last month found Jerry and me in Three Rivers, CA (about an hour from Fresno). We were there to present a couples retreat. The retreat house is two miles from Sequoia National Park. We rented a car to explore the national park. Another WOW experience. As we were slowly driving down the road to exit, a rock was jutting out further than it should have. I heard a pop. Fortunately, there was a turn-off a few yards away. We pulled off. As we got out of the car to assess the damage, a young couple walked over and said, “Do you need some help?” We answered with a resounding “Yes!” And the two of them set to work. They had the spare on quickly and securely. They refused our offer of some money for their efforts. We drove off and they headed up to see the Sequoia trees (felt like a Gospel story!). Makes you believe more in angels than Halloween ghosts.

And then there’s HELP

We all need HELP in diverse and unexpected ways (see story above) – the young among us, the competent, experienced middle-ager, and the elderly. We all need HELP but find it difficult to acknowledge our need and/or seek help. Our need for HELP reminds us of our humanness, our vulnerability. No one wants to experience vulnerability. It is so “not American.” And in the year 2022, I would add that the “vulnerable” – think homeless, mentally ill, impoverished, abused, to name a few – are looked down upon as if the sole answer to being a successful American citizen is to “pull yourself up from your bootstraps.” A myth that refuses to be laid to rest.

The truth is each and everyone of us is vulnerable (think the parable about the rich man who stored all his crops in his barn and missed the vulnerability of it all). Vulnerability/HELP – whichever word we use – we need each other. Not in a needy, dependent way, but as social beings we need each other to be there for each other to celebrate life, death, and everything in between. Companions on the Journey. I do not mean to paint a rosy, non-hassle scene here, but walking on the Journey of Life with all its detours, potholes, jutting rocks, and seismic faults is do-able if we are not alone, if we seek the HELP we need in whatever form, shape, or name it takes. We can’t “fix” each other (that’s another myth that needs to be buried) but we can be with each other in the myriad ways that plays out.

As we continue walking through October, let’s look for the WOW, THANKS, and HELP on our Journey.


2 thoughts on “Wow, Thanks, Help”

  1. I am loving your blogs. I find myself drawn to Anne Lamont’s writings and your play on her words with your life experience is most enjoyable. Thank you Bridget and thank you Anne.
    Happy Autumn,
    Michelle Schiller-Baker


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