Needle in the Hay- Elliott Smith
I’m tired of trying.
I know how stupid that sounds. I know how ungrateful I seem (and am). I know my definition of trying—soaking up every ounce of potential and taking every one of what makes up an overwhelming mass of opportunity— is a slap in the face to the 3/4 of the world whose “trying” is inescapably bound to survival. I hate that I view blessings as curses and open opportunities as oppressive weights.
I hate that I feel the way that I do. And I hate that I hate that I feel the way I do, because I know that I shouldn’t. Someone once told me that emotions are neither quantifiable nor illogical, and while I suppose I agree, I don’t really understand.
Call it a needle in the hay.
Life’s normalcies have always seemed to cause me the most trouble. Perhaps it’s because the normalcies—school, friends, family, car, commute, work, rent, bills, etc.—always just seemed like givens. Part of the standard package. Paltry. Insignificant in frequency.
But the extras and contras captivated me. The “above average” and the generally-contrary were awarded my time and my attention and my investment while the plentiful and average got locked in a cupboard under the stairs until I could be bothered to let them out for air.
Frequency meant normalcy, and normalcy didn’t deserve effort.
But now, in what feels like impossibly old age, I’ve found that all that effort spent on Extra was unknowingly being spent for the hope of an extraordinary future-normal.
I starved the outcome to feed the means.
But nobody told me (or maybe I just didn’t listen) that normal isn’t really normal!
Having a good friend feels like finding a needle in the hay.
Having a good job feels like finding a needle in the hay.
Real love feels like finding a needle in the hay.
Satisfaction and realized dreams and joy all feel like finding needles in the hay.
The needles of normalcy deserve effort, investment, and time. But as great as it feels to find those needles, the effort, investment, and time leaves me tired. Normal wasn’t supposed to be this taxing! I’m tired of having to sift through straw. I’m tired of finding hay. When I do find a needle, I get tired of fighting to keep what the dark parts of my heart would tell you I deserve in the first place. I never expected maintenance to take so much work, but more, I never expected maintenance to be a vital step in growth.
But it is.
And while I acknowledge and affirm the magnificence and necessity of normalcy, the me that would prefer to spend her entire life in bed in a cabin in the snow wants to pull the covers over her head and stop sifting. Stop trying. Stop seeking.
But this me forgets that she was never expected to do it alone. And thankfully, her helper knows where the needles are.
He put them there, and He puts joy and rest in the sifting.
Lord, give me strength…
…and Lord, make me want it.