Years ago, my son attended his first Boy Scout camp.
And got lost.
In the middle of the night.
As temperatures plummeted to the 20s and then the teens.
He came wandering to the campfire the next morning, near-hypothermic, bleary-eyed and visibly shaken, but alive and well (relatively speaking). He recovered quickly when dosed with hot chocolate and smothered in blankets, then told his tale.
He had become lost when trying to find the outhouse and didn’t want to “bother” anyone for help. So he wandered around in the small hours of the morning alone, cold and afraid.
Because he was so afraid to reach out for help, as the sun began its morning hike over the mountain, he crawled—as unobtrusively as possible—into another scout’s tent and slept near the opening.
So as not to disturb.
So as not to stand out.
So as not to make a fuss.
As he told his tale, I could feel something rise up inside of me. Fear, concern and relief, of course. But also something else.
I do the same thing.
I realized that I spend a great deal of my life trying to fly under the radar and avoid reaching out. Turns out that’s counterproductive when it comes to book promotion. Turns out it’s also counterproductive to life.
I remember when the release of my debut novel neared. It became clear that that my job of writing and editing (and rewriting and reediting) was over, and I was now tasked with sharing my book with the rest of the world. That sounded as appealing as dental surgery.
I work in advertising, so people said, “Um…shouldn’t you, like, know how to do this?”
Well, yeah. But it’s a lot easier to beat the drum for someone else. Especially if you’ve spent your whole life trying to go unnoticed.
I soon learned that there was a huge community that not only welcomed me, but was there to help with Book Stuff. They held my hand, showed me the ropes, and offered tips, tricks and insights.
More importantly, I learned that this same community is also there for Life Stuff. When one of us gets sick, loses a loved one, faces a crisis or needs support, we’re there. No questions asked. No limitations. No stipulations.
Terms and conditions do not apply.
So when I’m tempted to sleep at the mouth of someone else’s proverbial tent—or see a friend wandering the forest alone—I remember all the helpers who are here, there and everywhere.
We’re here to help each other find our way.
Has someone helped you professionally or personally in a profound way? Have you been that helper for someone else? Or on a lighter note, do you have any camping misadventures to share?
(Oh, and a quick note: I’m traveling for work and might be a bit slow to respond.)
*Photo by Josh Hild on Pexels.com