You grip the well's ledge, keep your chin up, and refuse to fall.
It's a haunting image of a life lived in fear of surrender. My tight grip on the ledge represents a picture of what I cannot face on the road to personal transformation, freedom, and joy. I'm afraid of what's down there if I journey deeper into places of brokenness. Can't I just stay up here, white knuckled, with my jaw clenched, fighting?
All day, I consider how I need to let go of my tight grip on my life, trying to hold everything together in that desperate and clenched way that drains out the life and hope.
A friend looks her straight between the eyes and says, "You need to let go and fall to the bottom of the well." That's the way to begin to heal.
But what happens when she lets go? What fearful thing awaits? She cannot do this alone.
Another friend says, "I'll fall to the bottom with you."
And another, days later, adds: "God is at the bottom of the well."
We release our grip, surrender to the work of healing God wants in our lives, and look around. We aren't alone: Friends journey down into the darkness with us, and God himself embraces us at the moment we let go.
(Photograph of a well in Argentina, Creative Commons)
Today, I remember a quote from the poet Rainer Maria Rilke: "Works of art always spring from those who have faced the danger, gone to the very end of an experience, to the point beyond which no human being can go. The further one dares to go, the more decent, the more personal, the more unique a life becomes."
What danger do I need to face?