Somewhere along the way there has always been a person or situation that has been of help in my life. I may not have recognized it at the time but I recognize it now and am filled with gratitude. Large blocks of years in my life have been devoted to music, education, career, retirement and knowing God. There has not been a person or circumstance in the past seventy-five years that had not in some way contributed positively to who and what I am. Even the ones I didn’t like or with whom I had disagreements or the situations in which I had at the time perceived as unsavory or unwelcome. (You may take cavil with this. But just think about it for a moment and see if you still disagree.) And through it all there has been the steady hand of God leading me…albeit many…most?…times without my conscious awareness of His presence.

How can I possibly name the many I remember who have encouraged me or the occasions, places, positions, events or adventures that have shaped me? Were I to list them all it would take a book…and even then I dare say I would forget some person or matter of importance.

But the standouts?  My grandmother, mother and step-father for music in the early years; my sons grandfather for education beyond high school; my first boss and a subsequent mentor for careers in healthcare and law; a friend from church for her exposure to writing a novel and a neighbor for her unstinting responses to my questions ever since; my mother for her devotion and faith; the street preacher from whom I heard the Gospel and those following for their steady hand in explaining the Word; the many authors of Christian books and the authors of secular mysteries; neighbors, colleagues and strangers for their often timely support; family and friends throughout the years who have been there for me through thick and thin…no fair weather friends they; my sons for their years of patience; and those uniquely significant others whom God brought into my life from time-to-time.

So I put the question to you thusly: Who have been “helps” in your life? Don’t be shy. Let’s give them all a hand…and a generous bouquet of thanks!