Seeking Thin Places…

 In Reflections

“A thin place is any place of transition: a doorway, a gate, the sea shore, these are all places where very little movement will take you from one place to another.”Irvin J. Boudreaux

From reading John Philip Newell’s book on Celtic wisdom, Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul, Karen Cotton’s upcoming free Summer Interlude session on thin places, and a new friend speaking reverently about Big Bend, Texas (see her poem below), the idea of thin places has captured my imagination.

A trip to the highlands of Scotland, the Irish coast, or even Big Bend aren’t in my near future, so I am comforted by Pastor Irvin Boudreaux’s reminder above that while the idea of “thin places” may have emerged from Celtic wisdom, these places can be found anywhere at any time. And author Julianne Stanz points out the term thin places can also refer to “in-between” moments in our lives and places inside us.

“In these thin spaces we are broken open and we encounter ourselves, our relationship with others and with God, in a deeper and more authentic way. The Celts were never afraid to explore God in the known or in the wild, barren edges of life.”
― Julianne Stanz, Braving the Thin Places: Celtic Wisdom for Creating a Space for Grace

In these troubling times when violence shows up in places we couldn’t have imagined, our thin places can help us remember our connection to the Divine and bring us the peace and clarity we seek.

May you seek out and find the thin places that ground you, connect you, and embrace you in the love, wisdom, and peace of the Holy One.

The Edge

“The edge is a holy place, or as the Celts called it, “a thin place” and you have to be taught how to live there. To take your position on the spiritual edge of things is to learn how to move safely in and out, back and forth, across and return.”
― Richard Rohr

Where Heaven and Earth Come Closer

“…The divine supposedly transcends time and space, yet we seek it in very specific places and at very specific times. If God (however defined) is everywhere and ‘everywhen,’ as the Australian aboriginals put it so wonderfully, then why are some places thin and others not? Why isn’t the whole world thin?Maybe it is but we’re too thick to recognize it. Maybe thin places offer glimpses not of heaven but of earth as it really is, unencumbered. Unmasked.”

―Eric Weiner, author of Man Seeks God: My Flirtations With the Divine. Note: This quote comes from the last two paragraphs of “Where Heaven and Earth Come Closer”, New York Times, March 9, 2012

Truth in the Window

Sitting here viewing the Window in Big Bend,
I can see the entire Universe – 
All that exists, all has no end. 
Not enough words to put into verse. 
I hear cicadas humming and birds chirping. 
The wind gently whispers in my ear. 
There are bears and javelinas, but nothing is disturbing. 
This is Spirit reminding me I’m here. 
I am one with the rocks, the sky, the trees – 
I feel their existence in me. 
Every sound my ears hear, every sight my eyes see
Remind me I’m part of Eternity. 
I am here, I belong,
I can sing Nature’s song. ― Jo Virgil, June 13, 2022

Note: I (Dianna) had the pleasure of hearing Jo read her poem and am thankful she said “yes” to sharing it along with the photo she took at Big Bend. It captures the moment and the poetry as only an image of nature’s sublime beauty can do. May this image and poem inspire you to find your own “window” or thin place.

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