A Need to Believe

I must admit that I read into things. Maybe that’s why I became an English major, to read between the lines of Hemingway and to be beaten over the head with symbolism when I read Hawthorne. Or maybe that was already in my DNA before, what makes me still buy a book that tells you what a certain animal signifies when you see it (ooh, look a bedbug! I guess that means I need more sleep!)

But I don’t think I had to look too far to see the meaning in one event today.

I was exhausted. I’d been burning two ends of the midnight oil the night before. I was the kind of tired that if I closed my eyes, I got a little dizzy with how fast my brain was losing consciousness. And from there, it wasn’t hard to realize that I was feeling a bit down. I’m currently at a crossroads in my life (but who isn’t really, when they’re in their twenties?), and I’m trying to figure it all out. Today, I was simply tired in more ways than one. I would have liked nothing better than to crawl into a deep, dark hole to rest my head and my thoughts.

And so I was debating my choices (give up or give in) when I heard it. It was a song on the radio. But it wasn’t just any song, if you will excuse my dramatics. It was a song that I had never, ever heard on the radio before. Yet, it was a song that I had desperately wanted to have played on the radio. You see, it wasn’t exactly made for the popular stations. Not what you would call a toe-tapper or the next summer hit.

It was performed by Loreena McKennitt. She’s a new age-y artist who sings about the solstice and the wind that shakes the barley. Think of her as a less mainstream Enya, I guess. She also happens to be my absolute, all-time, favorite musician.

Now, I can’t really impress on you how strange it was to hear her own the radio, but I will try. Let’s just say that the odds of playing Loreena McKennitt are about as good as the odds of playing “It’s Friday” by Rebecca Black on that same station. In all seriousness.

But here she was. My favorite artist was belting out notes in the middle of my crummy day. I was every shade of dumbfounded.

Of course, I could dismiss this as a funny coincidence. I could slap my knee and utter something like, “Well, I’ll be.”

But I didn’t. I took it as a sign. I took it as one might grab a rope to pull oneself out of a very deep and very dark cell. Why? Because that is what I needed to believe. I needed a benevolent message, and I got one.

Yes, our own perspective and understanding colors things. Indeed, it was a well-timed occurrence. But then, why couldn’t that mean that it was also a sign, a personal reassurance? The answer is that it can be both.

I believe that we’re giving footholds like this all the time, to ensure that we keep holding on. But it is up to you to reach out and grab them, see where they are, even in the darkness. If you are open enough, if you are alert enough, and if you need it badly enough, you may just find what you’re looking for. That is, if you have the courage to recognize it for what it is.

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