The well at my home in Maine was 400 feet in the ground connected by a pipe that passed under our garden, a lawn, the driveway to the pipes beneath our home. At the turn of a dial, the flip of a faucet, water filled a bath, washing machine, dish washer, sink— water flowed unquestioned from earth to faucet. Daily drink and daily wash, it kept us slaked and clean.
The well in me is harder to locate though just as surely it is there. Call it soul or awareness, filled with grace or spirit, it sputters and flows, nourishes and cleanses. I tap it unawares.
It was not always so. There was a time I felt profoundly the depths and interior emptiness that lost expectations and sudden sadness bring. I couldn’t eat; the gnawing in my gut was not hunger, but thirst. Spiritual thirst. The well was empty though water, water was everywhere.
I felt most fully as I was most empty. I willed to change – change anything, everything. I was ready to do whatever it took to feel well.I started with simple acts: pray, swim, practice yoga, eat, good food, reward myself – but mostly pray.
I prayed as I swam my way across a pool: a lap of crawl to a line of prayer. Grace became my favorite word. Amazing Grace, my theme song. I bought T-shirts with wings on the back and the word Grace on the front. I wore the word close to my heart to remind me what I needed most. When I set an intention in yoga class, I regularly set it to practice with grace, even as I wasn’t quite sure what that meant. Grace: elegance of gesture and movement; Grace – gratitude at daily meals; Grace: divine intervention.
I found a bronze plaque in a catalog that said “Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit.” The ad copy said the Latin translated to “Bidden or not bidden, God is Present” and that the psychologist Carl Jung had it carved over the door to his Zurich home. I liked the thought. I bought the plaque and hung it above the kitchen sink.
Slowly what I needed seeped into me. I transformed. I found the hole of holiness – and it made me whole. Out of nothing, something sacred. Out of the hollow comes the hallowed.