You are never alone
“I don’t like working alone,” I said. It was just after midnight. I could not sleep. I was writing my 750 words.
I corrected myself. “Sometimes I like working alone, but then the fun runs out. If I accomplish something cool, I have no one to share it with. If I get stuck, I have no one to help me. Working alone mostly sucks.”
“It’s an illusion,” a voice said. “You are never alone.” I wondered whose voice it was. Then I decided it didn’t matter. I’d find out later. Or not. For now, I’d just keep writing.
“You’re never alone,” the voice continued. “I’m here now, and I can be here whenever you want me.
“And if I were not here, someone else would be with you. You are never alone—except as you decide you are alone. And not even then.”
“What good would you be when I’m trying to solve a hard-core programming problem? Do you know anything about programming?”
“Do I need to?” Came the answer. “You know about Rubber duck debugging. Your rubber duck could help you if you’d ask it. You know that. Have you ever asked it?”
The truth was, I hadn’t thought of asking it. I’d gotten the duck at Le General Hotel Paris, where I’d stayed on one of my business trips. I’d had it for a dozen years and never asked it once for help.
“No,” I admitted. “I’ve never asked it.”
“If you asked, it would help you,” said the voice.
“I would,” said the duck.
“I may not know a lot about programming,” the voice continued, “but I’m better than a rubber duck.
“I may use that as my motto,” the voice continued. “Better than a rubber duck.”
“Can I use that, too?” I asked.
“Of course,” said the voice. “My works are CC0“
“Remember,” continued the voice. “Help abounds. It’s not just available from rubber ducks and not just for debugging. You are never alone, and you can always get help.”
“Thank you,” I said.
“You are welcome,” said the voice. “Remember: this universe is full of beings who are willing to help. But like the rubber duck, you first need to ask.
“The most capable helpers are often busy, but many of them can control time and can literally make time for you.
“And of course,” the voice continued, “there’s God, who literally knows everything.
“You can always call on God, and She will always help you.”
I knew that. Or believed it. But based on my actions, I neither know it nor believe it. I wanted to believe it and didn’t want to test it.
“God will help if you ask,” the voice said. “Sometimes, the help you need isn’t to be given the answer. Sometimes you need Her to tell you—lovingly—to figure it out yourself. Sometimes, you need a hint. Sometimes it’s enough to know that She is there.”
“Sometimes she’s in a rubber duck,” said the rubber duck.
“True,” said the voice.
“So abandon the idea that you are alone. Embrace the truth: help abounds. Knowledge abounds. Wisdom abounds.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. You’ve read that, haven’t you?” The voice asked.
“I have,” I said.
“Well, here’s the part that didn’t make it. ‘Sit on your ass and try to solve it all yourself, and you’ll experience endless and needless frustration and loneliness.’
I thought about it for a while. Help abounds. And I could be a helper as well as a helpee.
I’d learned some things that I could share with others. If I did, I could earn the right to ask for help.
“You already have the right,” said the voice. “You are alive. You are Life. That’s all the right you need. If you want to share your gifts with others, that’s another thing. But there’s nothing that you need to do to ask for help. People like to help. You like to help.
It was true. Whenever anyone asked me for help—even strangers—I helped. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. If some homeless guy on the street asked for help, I’d likely pass them by. Maybe that’s not the right policy.
“Maybe it’s not,” said the voice. “And maybe it is. Either decision might be right if you make it. The wrong decision is letting the decision be made for you. Who is making that decision then?”
“I don’t know,” I said.
“Make no decisions alone,” said the voice. “Remember that.”
“I will,” I said.
“Now get to work,” said the voice. “You can finish the rest of your 750 later.”
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