SIBYL MAGAZINE—November 2017/ A Well on my Back
A Pilgrim Seeking Temples
Sandra Mattucci—A Well on my Back
I carried a well on my back each day I walked the Camino. It was FULL of everything I needed—‘well’ at least what I thought was essential. This ordinary pack I chose to carry was weighted. Each morning I meticulously filled and re-filled its contents. A deep space existed within like a pool. It was so deep not even an echo could be heard as I set out.
Without realizing, I became this well. I was anything but separate from what I carried on my back. Daily lessons revealed themselves. I left some-thing of me, from this well, behind—I left it for another in need and for a need in me to free myself from all the right ‘stuff.’ Literally and figuratively, I began emptying this well. I longed to pour out more especially when my ‘sights’ fell upon a woman seated outside the cathedral doors. She sat christened in the sunlight, wrinkled by rains that drenched her body, but her posture was prayer. She held out an ’empty’ basket. She had no need to perform. She spoke not a word. My eyes immediately focused on this woman whose quiet demeanor drew me to her. I noticed the many tiny photos scattered at the bottom of a simple basket which rested at her knees. Images of children captured my attention and tugged at my heart. Were they her children? You had to look deep ‘into’ her well to see what was her heart. She had let go of everything. She trusted that she would receive all that she needed for this day. And, if not, if she received nothing from the pilgrims who passed her, she would be content with the little she had. She was filled with gratitude.
Loose coins in my pocket seemed to fall into her basket without my raising my hands to place them into her container. My instincts were correct. She raised her eyes to meet mine and whispered, ‘thank you.’ I turned away weeping. It was she who became for me the grandest of cathedrals…empty, yet so filled with gratitude.
The pack on my back was lighter. Each day as I set out, if I listened closely, I heard a hollowness in this well. Throwing a stone into its chamber, I would hear the splash. Voices teaching, prodding me “Fill your bucket, you can ‘pour’ out more,” but now I was twirling around in my inner mind—EMPTY yourself, it is then you know how much more you have to offer. I pray that I never become so full that I am not able to hear a drop upon a stone’s throw. I desire to hold the emptiness just enough that I never stop giving. A servant’s heart, empty I am, inwardly receiving a spring of living water. Each day I attempt to live in this current flowing into wells interconnected in time and beyond…
In becoming Empty, I am forever full.
In Thanks…Until December,