Have you ever experienced a time when you were literally drawn into your surroundings…into that moment…that event…that conversation? That you were, strangely… but truly, part of it? If so, you knew this moment was something unique…something that would pull you back again and again.
I know this has happened to me..
Early morning solitary walks along the shoreline, the day’s slow rising sun just beginning to show itself, its rays warming my body, waves lapping at my toes, the sand melting away beneath my footsteps…I am stirred.
Years ago we had a camp in the Adirondacks. There, nestled among some of nature’s most awesome wonders, I experienced many such moments – sublime moments – uplifting. Whether cabin bound in winter watching snow soundlessly and so very gently shrouding the earth in white; or feeling the silent, smooth gliding of my kayak along the calm lake encased in craggy mountains…always, I knew these times were sacred.
And definitely, as I stood high on the rugged cliffs of the Irish coast, looking way down into the ocean and far out to the distant horizon, I was moved to somewhere else.
I have a feeling that moments like these happened lots of times in my life. But I believe that I often missed them – too busy, distracted by living. Now, though, as I age, I am so much more aware of their presence in my life. Not always huge episodes…but small, almost unnoticeable events…I notice. A smile on the face of a grandchild, a friend’s tear, a sister’s sharing – all these, I know, live in me.
I’ve wanted to tell you about these instances, and so many others, for a long time. But until yesterday, I thought of them as random and of little concern or interest to anyone but me. And then last week I came across a blog on an Ignatian website that spoke of “thin spaces”, and immediately I realized that these moments in time were not unique to me but that they were often felt and cherished by many others.
I spent the day in research. I learned that it was the Irish, coincidently, who first coined the phrase thin places – places, times or things that invite us to experience something seemingly other worldly – where or when there is only a very thin veil separating the past, present, and future; where connection to your God or the Spiritual is most easy.
While it is often a visit to a place that transports us, a thin place may even be a memory, a piece of music or art, a meaningful book or story, or, in many cases, a thoughtful conversation with a close soulmate that leads us into that ethereal state.
So now I’m thinking about all the other thin places I have visited and returning to them in my mind. Each, I know, is a gift and I feel deep gratitude for them. Will I now be more aware, pay more attention, linger in them, nurture them – now that they, these sacred moments, have a name?
And, if thin places exist, then so too must there be thick places…places which blind us, confine us, limit us? What, then, are these in my life?
Rather than my trying to further explain these experiences to you, I offer the following link to an article that, in my humble opinion, so beautifully captures the true and total essence of “thin places”. If this is a subject which interests you, I invite you to click on and enjoy the link below. Maybe then, after reading, you will share your thin places with us?