A needle in a haystack.
This cliched phrase typically refers to a difficult search: "Finding my glasses in this crowded basement is like looking for a needle in a haystack!"
But, even if it is difficult to find a needle in a haystack, who is to say that the needle is not there? Just because the needle is hard to find does not mean that the search shouldn't take place! For when one finds a needle in the haystack, what really happens? Well, think about a big, scratchy haystack. You've been moving around in it, looking and looking for a long time. And finally, you find it: a SHINY needle! Yes, shiny. And shiny things are AWESOME! But is the ultimate shinyness worth the scratchy, tedious search through the haystack? I believe that, if one truly is looking for a needle, the search through the haystack is well worth it. Perhaps this theory can best be illustrated through a few examples from the past week.
On Thursday, I went to the doctor's office for a general physical before going off to college. Well, I had ridden with my dad, who had work in the area. So, when I came out from my appointment, I had to sit and wait while he finished up his work. Soon after I sat down, a woman who had just come in spoke to me: "Did you make your purse?" she asked. I replied that I had, and we began to talk about knitting, yarn, awesome stuff like that. This woman was probably in her thirties, and was Hispanic, with a thick accent. Well, after a little bit, we moved from yarn talk to more serious--MUCH more serious--avenues of conversation. We talked about life; about my future plans, and about her struggles. This woman was amazing. Her dad left her mom when she was just 11 years old. The woman I was speaking to has a second husband (she lost the first one either to divorce or death, I presume--I didn't press the question). A few weeks ago, her cousin died; she had to spend her birthday at his wake. She has at least three kids, one of whom--a teenager--refuses to go to church. And on top of everything, she has fibromyalgia, which causes her extreme pain every single day, constantly. Yet she goes through life, trying to give her children the best life that she can give them; she also has started contacting relatives who she hasn't spoken to in a very long time, because she wants to try and repair or keep up family bonds. Like I said, this woman is amazing; she has all the reasons in the world to just throw it in the towel and give up; yet she keeps going.
Saturday, I went to morning Mass at the IHM convent, because it was the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Well after Mass, they had a light breakfast reception of rolls and coffee. Naturally, I went over, and sat with a Novice and a Postulant, talking. A few minutes later, this Hispanic man who looked to be in his thirties or forties, very weather-beaten and hardworking, came and sat with us. He began to talk. And talk. And talk! He apparently has this amazing grandma, who is incredibly faith-filled and constantly keeps a Rosary with her, dedicating everything to Mary. And then he talked about his pro-life work. This guy was seriously like a firecracker. He would keep popping up with more and more stories. He had incredible passion for the pro-life movement, and once even had a gun pulled on him. He had spent countless hours at Tiller's, praying and praying. He reiterated that the power of the Rosary is incredible. This man also had incredible passion for the faith; he says that he is "hardcore Catholic." He couldn't believe that the church was only about half full for Morning Mass; with everything that God has done for us, he thought that people should've been filling that church! He believed the same thing with Sunday Mass. People must really realize what God has done for them, and come to Mass to thank Him. What a witness of passionate faith!
These two people were "needles" in the haystack of life. One goes through life, piece by piece of straw. Sometimes, the journey gets scratchy and uncomfortable. But God has those shiny needles stuck in the haystack of life. And those shiny needles are true gifts. But, they can only be found and appreciated if one keeps their eyes open.
So keep your eyes open for the needle in the haystack!