William Barry, SJ, in his book, A Friendship Like No Other, invites us to be aware of our “thin places,” those moments where we easily find God. Barry’s challenge to name for ourselves our “thin places” was a challenge I took to heart, and I have come to two conclusions.
First, there are “thin places” that occur in my life that are unique, special places that I do not get to visit very often, but when I do the felt presence of God is almost overwhelming. Many of mine are places in nature, such as the beach, my grandparents’ farm, and being in the North Georgia Mountains, and they invite me to understand the vastness and creative power of our creator. As I stand and soak in the beauty of nature these places offer, I also find that I understand that my mere presence in life is but one piece of God’s magnificent, ongoing creative work.
Second, as Barry’s question of “thin places” remained on my heart, I found myself pondering it often during my Examen. Over time, I began to realize that there are some very basic rhythms and routines of my life that allowed me to readily and easily find God: snuggling my daughter, Abby, while sipping my morning coffee; sitting down to lunch with my kids after preschool to hear about their day; reading to my kids and our night time ritual of prayer; and savoring the few quieter moments with my hubby after the last door of my kids’ room was closed. I was surprised to find that the rhythms of my life are spotted with moments that easily allow me to find God. Without realizing it, these moments are checkpoints to see how the ones I love are doing and even more importantly “still points” that allow me to savor the gifts in my life and to deepen my awareness of God in all things.
I am sure as I continue to ponder my “thin places,” I will be surprised, yet again, as to where God routinely pops up in my day.