Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thin and Thick Places: Tuesday's Reflection

I'm sure you've heard of the Celtic notion of "thin places." A place where the boundary between heaven and earth feels thin; a place when you can sense the divine, the presence of God more readily. 

I don't know that I have experienced any "thin places" in my life, although there are places where I feel more in touch with and open to the movement of God in my life, and I have felt "thin" times, as when my mother was close to death. I am grateful for those times and places in my life, but what I seem to experience more frequently are places and times that feel "thick."

This time of year when we are on the bridge between Thanksgiving and Christmas often feels thick to me. Mainly because my lists are even longer than usual. 

Bruce and I had a Christmas summit this weekend in which we made our lists of presents to buy, entertaining to do, plans for decorating the house inside and out, etc. I felt better, at least briefly, once the list was made, but knowing what needs to happen is not the same as doing it. The doing takes effort, and I feel a bit stuck in the middle of a thick place right now where I can't quite imagine what my list will look like with big fat check marks next to each item. 

Most years I plunge in, finding a way to cut through the thickness, and eventually relishing the joys of the season, but this year seems more challenging. My sense is that is true for many of us, if we continue to grieve the election results, fear for the future, and wrestle with what to do and how to respond. Other losses can add to this feeling of almost impenetrable density. 

Of course, I know what I need in order to cut through the heaviness, the broad swath of solidity. The ground may feel shaky, but returning to what grounds me, saves me. More than ever, I need to maintain the spiritual practices that steady me and open me to cracks of light.  When I preserve time for meditating, praying, and writing in my journal, I am able to lift my head and move forward. 

Thick places then shrink and thin places become more tangible and visible. 
          When the limbs of our loyalty weaken
          And the desire to stand upright falters,
          When the lamp of love grows dark
          And faith lessens with anxious illusion,
          When the ability to go forward with joy
          Teeters awkwardly on broken dreams,
          We turn to you, our Restorer of Balance.
          We accept you inherent stability in us
           And begin our spiritual practice again,
           Slowly building up what has declined.
                                       Joyce Rupp


An Invitation
What do you do when you are in a "thick" place? I would love to know. 


  1. I remember the "thinnest" place I have ever been. A moonless night in the middle of the Atlantic, alone on deck of a 42 foot sailboat -- I was just a veil away from being totally part of the Universe; fear was and wasn't. There was and continues to be AWE!

  2. This takes my breath away. Thanks for sharing.


All respectful and relevant comments are welcome. Potential spam and offensive comments will be deleted