A World Of Help

The Editor is tired. The Editor is having his kitchen remodeled and neither he nor his wife thrive when their well-tailored routine is tampered with, let alone pried apart with crowbars. I could not sleep merely knowing something would be different in the morning. I must have been a monk in a former life. And yet with all this demolishing going on around me I am reminded of one of my favorite Bob Dylan lines. It’s from I’ll Keep It With Mine, a song I discovered during a period in my life when there was considerable upset all around me. The verse goes simply: Everybody will help you/Discover what you set out to find.

This song has always struck me as one of Dylan’s most generous, and I love it for this reason. And he’s right, everybody will help you, although help can come in many forms. Because no one but a select few in your life know what you have set out to find, the rest—with their criticism and praise, their affection and indifference—are providing you with information. People applaud when you say the right thing at the right time in the right way, and they jeer when you say the wrong thing at the wrong time in the wrong way.

But no matter the response, everyone in their own unconscious way is pointing you back toward the center, the sweet current where your boat runs fastest. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we all want everyone around us to thrive. We are always most at ease with people who are themselves at ease, and people doing what they love the most, in the way they love the most, are always more at ease than people doing what they don’t love. Contentment begets contentment.

An alien might wonder why these well-behaved vandals are ripping out my countertops and cabinets. But the alien would not know that I asked these men to tear out my countertops and cabinets, and the alien would not know that there are newer and better  countertops and cabinets on the way. Whether we ask directly or indirectly, we are always asking for help, and that help is always coming—in book reviews, sales reports, rejection letters, and acceptance letters. The world wants nothing but the very best for you, but all the help the world can offer is of no use unless it is received.

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