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Have You Got a “Thin Place”?

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: ShironekoEuro
Do you have a “where” or a “when” that refreshes your spirit?

Last week ushered in the first day of Spring, a time of new life and rebirth…

The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.

— Bern Williams

You’ve probably surmised that this post is not about your weight or your shape, nor is it about Spring per se; it’s about places or moments when “heaven and earth are only three feet apart”… it’s about where or when you’ve felt closer to your God and more whole as a result.

…the ancient Celts spoke of thin places and thin times – when the veil between heaven and earth is worn thin, where the temporal and the transcendent seem to touch. We’ve all experienced these instances when we were surrounded by natural beauty, moments of friendship or love, in a place of quiet at a hospital bedside. Recall those times when you experience a fleeting moment of mystery. Revisit the memories and feel how they’ve imprinted you.

— Oprah Winfrey

What Is Saving You?

Why does it matter whether or not you’ve got a thin place/where or when? Because those places and moments offer R&R intervals – they sustain you with relief and relaxation, rest and recreation, respite and refreshment.

“Thin places,” the Celts call this space,
Both seen and unseen,
Where the door between the world
And the next is cracked open for a moment
And the light is not all on the other side.
God shaped space. Holy.

— Sharlande Sledge

Not sure about where or when your “thin places” might be? Perhaps Terry Hershey, who characterizes himself as “author, humorist, inspirational speaker, dad, ordained minister, golf addict, and smitten by French wine”, provides an answer in his blog:

What is saving you today?

For me, it is my garden…
I tell myself there’s work to do, but can’t conjure a compelling reason to do it. So, mostly I sit and stare. And for at least a little while…

I am not Phoning.
I am not Blogging.
I am not Twittering.I am not Texting.
I am not Emailing.
I am not mentally editing the to-do list in my head.
I am resting.

And for at least a little while… I am in safe harbor.

Where and When Is Your Safe Harbor?

…reflect on the thin places in your own life. Where is a place that refreshes your spirit and opens the door to the threshold of the sacred? You, too, can return to this place in your imagination and once again experience God’s Presence and receive the peace of this Celtic blessing.

— Kathleen Jessie Raine

Take a DEEP breath and let your mind wander to a place or a time when you felt serene, or safe, or supported, or secure. Settle into that imagined or remembered place and then notice:

  • Where am I?
  • Is this thin place a real, rocks and dirt place I can touch?
  • Or is it an internal mindful place of my imagination?
  • What is happening around me?
  • Who is or isn’t here?
  • What are they saying or doing?
  • What colors do I see?
  • Sounds do I hear?
  • How am I feeling physically?
  • How am I feeling emotionally?
  • How am I feeling spiritually?

Now write down five words that describe how you felt in that place or that moment. Yes, NOW. It’s not that hard, pencil on paper, pen on tablet, fingers on keyboard – just do it! If those feelings are ones you treasure, save them in your memory so you can revisit often. And then, each day, repeat this prayer:

O God, when work and responsibility wrap around my life like a woolen cloak, and wonder is closed off from my life, throw aside my protection. Guide me back to those places where my soul lies open to the cool breath of mystery from your Spirit. I ask this for the sake of Your great love. Amen.

If by now you haven’t discovered your thin place, your very own “where or when that refreshes your spirit”, then Git yr’self one – make it up if you have to!

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