Old Enough to Ask for Help Occasionally?

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When I was younger, I wasn’t very good at asking for help. I remember being ill while working at a summer job out-of-state (I was just into my first year or two of teaching). My coworkers stopped by my dorm room each morning to see whether I would make it to work that day. This went on for four or five days.

Forget work. I wasn’t even strong enough to make it to the dining room to eat.

I needed to go to the infirmary, but I wasn’t up to walking and wouldn’t have felt safe driving. I kept waiting for my coworkers to ask if they could do anything for me. I would gladly have told them I needed a ride to the infirmary.

But they didn’t offer, and I was too proud to ask. Too proud and too sick.

Fortunately, the bug worked its way out of my system eventually, and I woke up one morning feeling stronger—and hungry for the first time in days. I made it to the dining hall with ease.

I could tell you other stories about times as an adult when I needed help, but—for one reason or another—refused to ask for it.

Flash forward to this week. I attended the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference at Ridgecrest, NC. The faculty was tremendous, and I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with friends I only see at the BRMCWC.

I had an inspired thought. Something I hadn’t planned to do until recently. But it would require asking for help. And from someone VERY well known—at least to Fox News fans.

I’d met Fox commentator Todd Starnes at previous conferences. I knew his blog has a tremendous following, and he was in the midst of a promotional book tour for his newest book, God Less America. Talk about a busy man…

But what did I have to lose?

I asked if he would consider writing a foreword for the upcoming release of my novel, The Devil & Pastor Gus. He looked over my one-sheet summary and—I still can’t believe it!—said he would be honored.

That’s the kind of stuff Cloud Nine is made out of.

Several days later I turned around to see who the instructor kept addressing as Jane. She looked awfully familiar, but it took me till the end of class to be positive that she was Jane Herlong. Jane is not just a writer, but a wonderful singer, a brilliant women’s speaker, and a hilarious comedienne. Oh, and did I mention she’s also a former Miss South Carolina?

We’d met when she was on the faculty several years earlier. I’d sung some of my original songs for her and she did a duet with me. All for fun, of course. Not for the conference itself. And she emailed me shortly afterwards to thank me for the privilege of letting her sing with me. Can you imagine? She’s the professional singer, not me.

Practically as soon as I realized the familiar lady in the back of the room was Jane Herlong, the thought came to mind—I’m assuming it was divine inspiration—to ask if she’d be willing to write the foreword for another book that’s pending publication, Impractically Yours.

She didn’t even have to think about it. She would be honored to help me that way.

I emailed her a copy, and she started reading it almost immediately. Today I received a message that she LOVES it!

Lord, thank You for helping me reach the point in my life where I’m willing to take a chance and ask other people for help—sometimes, at least. But I know You’re still the ultimate source of all the help I’ll ever need, and I praise You for that.

I’ll let you decide which of the pictures at the top of this post is of me with Todd and which one is with Jane.


Please leave a comment if something in this post has spoken to you. I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

By the way, “On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I use “As I Come Singing”–check it out here–to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. Check here to see the list.

Best regards,

3 thoughts on “Old Enough to Ask for Help Occasionally?

  1. Well written, as usual… but I wouldn’t classify asking someone to write a forward for my book as asking for help… more like favoring me with a presige… asking for help is more like asking for a hand when you’re down… but you’re not down by no means, my friend… really nice to see you are on the up with your writing… keep me posted when you make the NYT bestseller list… then I’l ask your for help to show a few of my manuscrpts around…


  2. As for your spelling, Tom, I got a paper back in college that said, “Amazing spelling for an English major.” I can’t help it if four years of Spanish kept me from spelling well in either language. *LOL* You may be right about asking for a favor rather than asking for help, but that would’ve changed the whole blog post. *G*


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