I read this post a while back on one of my favourite blogs (71toes).
In it, she talks about the Celtic concept of “thin places”. According to a definition I found, a thin place, “is a place where the boundary between heaven and earth is especially thin. It’s a place where we can sense the divine more readily.”
There was an interesting article in the New York Times about thin places found here to understand it a bit more.
A thin place is not necessarily a particular place: it’s not necessarily tranquil, or peaceful, or beautiful. But, often it is. It is a sacred place. But that sacred, can be sacred to only you.
For me, it’s a “slow motion place”, where everything stands still. A place that I want to stop to make sure my heart takes a picture. A place where nothing else in the world matters, except that moment.
I have found thin places in places across the world, and I have found them in my own family room. I guess we can call some of those, “thin moments”.
We talked about thin places several weeks ago during our family night and I asked everyone to think of where they have experienced a thin place. We all agreed that in our travels, as a family, we have encountered thin places: multiple spots on our trip to Fiji/Australia/New Zealand, early mornings in the Outerbanks, sunset in the Grand Canyon, walking in a line in NYC…those are just recent examples. These are all related to travel, but many others sprang to my mind: sitting at a soccer game watching one of my boys play; watching my kids all sprawled out on the family room floor for a sleepover, while watching a movie; watching Zach pass the sacrament; walking behind the kids as they pull the wagon down to get our Christmas tree.
There are other kinds of thin moments too — some just too sacred to even share, but certainly I experienced very thin moments around the time my father passed away, during my divorce, and most recently, during the whole ordeal of Rob’s heart attack.
This past weekend, prior to the Christmas hustle and bustle, we decided to take a few days to get away with the kids for some skiing. It is so much work to ski with the kids. All the equipment, the food, the prep. Never mind the frigid cold. But we do it. Every year we try to do it for at least an overnight. We spent a few days away, and while there were many parts of the mini get away that were less than thin (can I just have some peace and quiet, no fighting, loving children who jump up to help each other and build each other up for Christmas this year) — there was one particular moment….
The sun was shining brightly and as we skied down this one particular trail, you turned a corner and got the most amazing view of the trees covered with snow, and could see forever over the frozen lake. The sun was setting and we all stopped at this spot. Zach instructed everyone to be quiet…so we could hear the total silence of nature – only eventually broken by the crunch of the snow. We tried to get a few pictures to capture that moment, that thin place… but that’s the thing about thin places, you really can’t capture them except in your heart and soul.
We returned to that exact spot many times following, but it was never thin again… thin places are all about timing too.
I’ve loved the thin places we have been to this year, and I excitedly await the thin places that I know await us in the years to come.