Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thin Place

I would not be a real APU girl if I was not in the Shauna Niequist fan club. Luckily for me, she is an easy person to be a fan of. I have read two of her books, most recently finishing Bittersweet. Saying that I loved it would be an understatement.

As I was reading this book I literally felt like she knew me and my life and how everything that has happened and is happening makes me feel. I love when I feel understood. One of the chapters in the book has continued to resonate with me and I just can't tell enough people about it and how they should read it.

The chapter I am talking about concentrates on the idea of a thin place, "A thin place, according to the Celtic mystics, is a place where the boundary between the natural world and the supernatural one is more permeable-thinner, if you will. Sometimes they're physical places. There are places all over Ireland where people have said, if you stand here, if you face this direction, if you hike to the top of that ridge at just the right time of day, that's a thin place, a place where the passage between heaven and earth is a short one, a place where God's presence is almost palpable." (from Bittersweet) I could read that over and over again. I immediately thought of 2 physical places for me that feel as though they are a thin place.

One of those places is a little camping spot my parents and I happened upon one year when I rolled my ankle backpacking. We had a different destination in mind, but instead had to find somewhere closer, and we scored in a big way. We continued to go back to that place year after year and every time I am there, I feel like things are right in the world. I feel a peace that I usually don't, I feel God in a big way.

The second place might sound strange, but there is a sense of peace and hope that I get every time I visit Oregon. This last time as I ate at Nearly Normals with Hilary and Noah, and then the next night cooking dinner with Hilary in her cute little house, that was a thin place. As Noah and I spent time in our favorite sleepy little town outside of Ashland, that was a thin place. And as we ate dinner around a table at Tom and Elaine's little cabin on a hill, spent a dreary day wine tasting, and Noah teaching Elaine the art of the slack line, that was a thin space.

I love that I can identify a couple physical places for me that I know I feel that peace and hope and joy. What is hard about that, though, is also becoming fully aware of where those thin places are not. As Noah put it, the thick places. Places that feel really hard and impossible to feel much of anything at all...those places exist too. Right now, I am living in one of those places and days, weeks, months are battles to break through to something.

And I guess that all leaves me wondering if it is possible to make a thick place into a thin place...and if so, how on earth do you go about doing that?

Here are a few pictures from my time in Oregon. I didn't take many at all, I was too busy enjoying the peace and joy and the presence of people I love dearly.

I hope you have a thin place of your own...I think we all need a place like that. 

With Love,

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