I walked last night down past the houses until there was only a wildlife refuge, dunes on the left, empty beach on the right. It was not really “empty.” So what is “empty”—that hunger within? We think there is nothing there. But what if we’re full of sea grasses and long-legged birds trotting in the gifts of the sea, being fed, trusting in the bounty of the foam sizzling, hissing as the wave recedes? What if the empty place within is a place we would actually sacrifice to travel to? A place where houses, lamplight, people recede as well? What if you kept contentedly, even joyfully, walking into that space of what could be called desolate, solitary, uninhabited? If you let this place inside show its ecosphere? Its air and light, its vastness? If you let that spaciousness inside, which you have so long feared, reveal how many miles it actually is? You were always so afraid of the emptiness taking you over, taking you down. But now, no longer troubled by it, it can show you its beauty, so big you cannot see where it leads, nor where it ends. You can never give enough thanks for the emptiness; it surrounds you so fully. Now, no longer denying it, it turns itself inside out. You’re hungry, running, free, alive. You’re airborne.
—from the book Gather the Fragments: My Year of Finding God’s Love
by Maureen O’Brien