Help, Thanks, Wow" on the train home last night. To be honest, it really could've been a long article instead. If you're new to Anne Lamott, I wouldn't start here. Instead, I'd start with Operating Instructions (if you're a parent or a kid or a best friend or a human), or Bird by Bird (if you're a writer or a reader or a lover of words), or Traveling Mercies or Plan B (if you're a recovering church goer or new church attendee). "Help, Thanks, Wow" is mainly for those of us who just can't get enough of Annie, or be reminded regularly enough to go easy on the neurosis (and go easy on the going hard on ourselves for the neurosis).
Of course "H, T, W" still has lots of classic Annie gems like:
"God keeps giving, forgiving, and inviting us back. My friend Tom says this is a scandal, and that God has no common sense."
"The movement of grace from hard to soft, distracted to awake, mean to gentle again, is mysterious but essential. As a tiny little control freak, I want to understand the power of Wow, so I can organize and control it, and up its rate and frequency. But I can't. I can only feel it, and acknowledge that it is here once again. Wow."
"Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makde you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides. It means you are willing to stop being such a jerk. When you are aware of all that has been given to you , in your lifetime and in the past few days, it is hard not to be humbled, and pleased to give back."
"We can be freed from a damaging insistence on forward thrust, from a commitment to running wildly down a convenient path that might actually be taking us deeper into the dark forest. Praying 'Help' means that we ask that Something give us the courage to stop in our tracks, right where we are, and turn our fixation away from th Gordian knot of our problems. We stop the toxic peering and instead turn our eyes to the middle distance, to the hills, whence our help comes - someplace else, anything else. Maybe this is a shift of only eight degrees, but it can be a miracle. It may be one of those miracles where your heart sinks, because you think it means you have lost. But in sureder you have won. And if it were me, after a moment, I would say, Thanks."