Anne Lamott says all of the prayers in the world can be boiled down into three words: Help. Thanks. Wow.
I’ve had a bit of a run of yuck.
Jobs I’ve applied for and haven’t gotten. Bills I really thought I’d paid, and it turns out I didn’t. Big, big bills. Roofing bills. Yeah, I know. How did I not notice that one? And sick, sick sick. On top of the usual, a stomach bug, then a cold and then the flu for 2 freaking weeks. More jobs I didn’t get.
It might have been a good idea to say “help”. Not to anyone in particular, but out into the ether. Call it the “universe”, “God”, “spirit”, whatever you like. I do believe there is something greater than ourselves. And I do believe that that energy is there to help us live to our highest purpose. What I forget, is to ask for help.
I tend to think I need to trudge through the wilderness by myself. I wouldn’t have been a good Moses. Perhaps it comes from having only myself to depend on for all of these years. More likely it is that asking is hard. There are lots of stories wrapped up in why asking for help is “wrong”: I don’t want to be a bother. I’m not deserving. I did something wrong. It is easier to just do it myself. These are stories around asking people for help and if it is hard to ask people for help, why would I bother the big kahuna? Ummm. Because that is the job of the big kahuna. To help. So, I think I’m going to start asking for help more often. To actually make it a practice.
Which leads me to “thanks’. In connection with a course I’m doing, I have been keeping a gratitude list for a couple of weeks. It is something I’ve done off and on in the past and I find it to be helpful. It gets me to focus on the good, whether that is the tasty pumpkin pancakes I made this morning or the four pieces of actual real mail from real people that arrived in my mailbox this week. It is a practice of observance. As one who tends to meander through my days in a bit of a fog, this calling to attention is a good thing.
And then there is wow. Or Wow. It is “thanks” with a double shot of espresso. It is for breathtaking, awe inspiring, the heart opening. Anne writes, “Wow comes in all shapes and sizes, like people. There are the lower case wows. These are the times when we sink into something modest that delivers above and beyond. When you crawl between clean sheets after a hard day, you are saved. You are the best sandwich ever. You’re being taken care of from the top and the bottom, with not a crumb or a lump or a wrinkle. Wow: you can’t believe you felt so low and lonely till you thought to change the sheets.”
And then we have the “upper case Wows”. Like love, and art, and real magic, and music. Like landscapes that go on and touch the sky. Poetry. That video of the baby twins being given a bath under running water. Flash mob marriage proposals. Bat Kid in San Francisco. Upper case Wows change us.
I had an upper case Wow come in an email this weekend. “I am delighted to tell you that one (or more) of your pieces of art have been included in my upcoming book, The Geography of Loss: Embrace What Is, Honor What Was, Love What Will Be. love, Patti.”
Wow. WOw. WOW.
Holy freakin’ Wow!!!!!!!!!!
My art work is going to be in Patti Digh’s new book!!!! MY. ART. The art I almost didn’t submit. The art I almost didn’t finish because the lizard voices were howling in my ears so, so loudly. But knowing that not finishing and not submitting would have been a betrayal of my self, I did finish and I did submit. It was something I needed to do, whether or not it was accepted. But WOW.
And just so you know…. I submitted that art over a year ago. September 17, 2012. 11:55 pm. With a deadline of midnight. Wow.
I’m a fan of Wow. And wow.
Tell me your wow. Upper case or lower case. Doesn’t matter. I really want to know.
p.s. I’m getting my “Help” list ready. There are small asks, like my eaves trough needing to be cleaned out. But, baby, there’s a big, honking humungous ask on the table right now. In fact, there are two of them. So, if you want to ask on my behalf, I’d be more than happy to receive. Thanks. Wow.