The Well: a parable

“See,” comes a Voice from nowhere.

To open my eyes is to see where I am,
stuck at the bottom of a dark, damp well,
burdened down with all my petty and self-defensive strategies.

Once I have discovered my helplessness
and exhausted all means of self-rescue,
I give up in despair, sit down in the murky puddle and weep.

But then I hear the sound of music echoing down,
the beautiful sound of hope, of promise, of love calling.
I cry out for help,
and immediately see a thick and sturdy rope
snaking down the well towards me.

“Hold on,” says the Voice.

My tears are now from relief as I tie it snugly around my waist.
The rope is secure and holds my weight.
I hold on with both hands and plant both feet on the wall,
willing it to lift me up.
I hover a few feet above the water, but go no farther.

“Let go.”

Doubtful, I try releasing the rope, and immediately flip backwards,
feet up, head down, arms flailing.
As I struggle to right myself,
the rope lowers me gently back down to sit in the dark water again.
I cry in confusion, in frustration: “Let go of what?”


Only then do I feel the weight dragging at my shoulders,
a heavy pack filled with something hard and bumpy.
I never noticed it, for it has been with me always.

“See,” repeats the Voice, ringing down from above.
It reverberates right through me.

At this command, I slip the pack off one shoulder,
open it a little, and peek at the first rock.
On its rough surface I read: FEAR.
I rummage around, digging deeper, and discover more.

To open my eyes is to see each rock that holds me back:
Self-justification, Need to Control, Need for Approval,
Resentment, Judgment, Willful Blindness.
Lies I have believed of shame and pride,
worthlessness and worth through trying harder.
The deeper I dig, the wider the pack opens.
The tightly packed rocks begin to loosen
and clank dully against each other.

“Let go.”

“But,” I protest, “These are me. This is just who I am.”

“Let go.”

And I begin to cry once again. “I can’t. I can’t.”


“I do see, and it breaks my heart.”

“Let go.”

“I can’t.” And I sit for awhile with my rocks that are me
in the dark, in the wet and the cold and the silence.

Then the music starts to float down again,
filling the well, promising comfort.


I look up.

To see this time is to recognize
a face at the top of the deep well
and a pair of strong hands holding the rope.
Love flows down the rope and into my heart.
My love responds and flows back up.

“Hold on.”

I grasp the rope again as it begins to lift me up.


This time, I keep my eyes fixed upwards,
love, desire and need surging towards the light,
and hold tightly to the rope with one hand.

“Let go.”

The strap begins to slip from my shoulder,
and I let it go.
Rocks tumble out of the pack,
falling down to splash in the water.

Hold on. Let go. See.

One hand holds, one lets go, eyes fixed on Salvation,
I inch towards the Light.

parable by Celeste Boudreaux, June 2021
painting, “The Woman in the Well,” acrylic on canvas, by Celeste Boudreaux, 2016

Next post: The Dance of Light and Darkness

6 Comments on “The Well: a parable”

  1. The paradox of holding on and letting go at the same time…Yes, very powerful and beautiful. Your artwork also is wonderful. ❤️🙏


%d bloggers like this: