Thin Places

“There is in Celtic mythology the notion of ‘thin places; in the universe, where the visible and invisible world come into their closest proximity.” Leave it to the Irish to come up with such a lovely, poetic, powerful image: thin places where the eternal world rubs close to the world of time. The Irish monks believe it is at such frontiers that God and human beings are most intimately present to each other.

Excerpt from The Haunt of Grace, by Ted Loder – Loder is quoting Peter Gomes, preacher to Harvard University at the Memorial Church

I am experiencing many of these thin places these days. Ben returned from his trip to Nepal on Tuesday and the excitement and anticipation was about too much for a 3 and almost 5 year old to bear! After watching the plane land and their papa walk across the tarmac, waving up at them, we raced down the stairs to the gate from which he would emerge. The kids were stuck behind ropes, jumping from one foot to another trying to see over one another’s head. When he finally emerged the ropes and officials frowning down on them were not enough to keep those kids from racing across the tiles and jumping into his arms. It was sheer joy on their little faces, on all of our faces.

The next day Willow awoke at 4 with a fever. The rest of the day was spent monitoring her and Ayden’s fevers while giving them sips of water out of straws and holding them as they threw up or sat on the toilet, yet again. Thankfully, they recovered within 24 hours and are back to their active, energetic selves. Watching my babies as they breathed fast, their pulses racing, comforting them as they woke again and again with tears in their eyes, I felt helpless and thankful. Helpless that all I could do was sit and be with them, read them books, or rub their backs. Thankful because my kiddos have been blessed with remarkably good health.

Also, during this last week I lost a love that had just begun. A wee miracle of life that had surprised me by arriving on my doorstep and moving right into my heart. Baby number 3 was quietly growing while his papa was thousands of miles away and could only smile across a distorted, hesitant screen at the news. I talked to God about it from the beginning. I determined in my heart to be thankful for whatever time we had with this new gift. It turned out to be a few short weeks.

These events are all part of life. Just like the man who planted the mustard seed and waited for it to grow; like the woman who mixed yeast with flour and oil and waited for the miracle to happen. But they are also moments when heaven and earth come close, rub together, break in on one another. Places where we are allowed to stop and sit and be with wonder. Spaces where we can grieve, celebrate, grow, and give thanks.


4 thoughts on “Thin Places

  1. “Heaven and earth are only three feet apart, But in the thin places that distance is even smaller” Celtic saying A thin place is somewhere where we are more keenly aware that God is close and always with us. This was my journal entry that made me stop, pause and pray the morning of Ben’s email…. thin places and little glimpses. God is so good to speak to us in such tangible ways!

  2. My heart aches for your loss and also joins you in awe of Him who cares about the details of our life and is close to the broken hearted. So thankful he is close and holds our hearts. Wish I was closer. Sending love from afar sweet friend!

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