The other day I needed to do some bloodwork for my annual check-up. This time, I decided I'd be conscientious and take care of it on time. At least, semi on time.

Usually, I try to look away — anywhere — to avoid the sight of that gory, red blood. But, that day, I guess I was being brave.

The nurse stuck the needle into my arm and, immediately, a gush of blood filled the container.

But one container doesn't suffice. Sure enough, when the container filled after a few seconds, the nurse had another empty one on the ready… And then another… And another.

I was still being brave, though feeling a tad fainter and growing paler by the minute, but still watching, mesmerized in some strange way.

I was thinking about the blood.

My blood. My deep, red blood. My deep, red blood that is flowing right out of me.

As the nurse replaced the containers, the needle was still stuck in me and I expected the blood to continue dripping out, but as if obediently awaiting the nurse's instructions, it had stopped. Nothing was gushing.

For a second, I almost entertained the horrific thought that there was no more blood left in me! But soon, the new container was properly in its place and the blood continued racing out – at high speed – into the empty container.

Maybe it was my lightheadedness from losing all that blood, but I began to wonder – why? Why the pause in the rush of blood when the nurse changed the containers?

That's when I realized that the needle isn't what draws the blood. Though the needle pricks the skin, the vacuum in the empty container draws it out.

The profundity began to sink in (or was it, again, my increasing lightheadedness making it seem profound?): An empty vessel can draw in with greater intensity than one which is full.

It sounded like a deep lesson for life.

It's not the needle, the probing and searching, that will fill us with meaning and life-giving blood, as much as the emptiness.

Only a person who is empty – not full of himself, not arrogant, but aware of his inadequacies and parts of himself, and his life, that are "empty" – can be more strongly motivated to fill himself with goodness and fullness.

The blood work was over. The concerned nurse observed my pale face and asked me if I wanted to rest for a few minutes.

I'm fine, I assured her. Emptier, perhaps, but ready to become fuller.