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.
I am so happy to meet some fellow travelers in God’s sacred spaces. I believe we can open our hearts when Jesus knocks, let him in and as Revelation says, have dinner with him. I see dinner as the time and place to talk about stuff. You know, as Christians we are followers of Christ. All He ever has asked me to do is follow Him. All I ever ask of Him is to be there with me and help me “feel as He feels.” I do massage and bodywork modalities to bring balance and well being into the body, mind and spirit of the ones I touch. Those times when I can’t seem to find the spaces or the right energy that a person needs to be healed I just ask Jesus to come through the Holy Spirit and there He is. I ask Him to put his hands on my hands, or to be my heart, my mind, my body and my soul. If I still need more, I just ask Him to put his arms around me and lead me into the body I’m working on. This is my Thin Place with Christ who knows just what I need and just what the person I’m working with needs. I actually become a conduit of spiritual energy. And here’s the best part, He is always there no farther away than a thought, an invitation to come into my heart. So deep. So powerful. So gentle. So guiding. It’s always a mind shift for me to listen, let go of my intention, and tune into His healing grace. He literally called me to follow Him. He transformed me into a healer. To God be the glory. Amen.
My thin place is my work place in my a little treatment room. I see God’s presence and miracles all the time. Also, park my van under a sunlight in a park nearby the school praying, journaling, reading, and meditating as I wait for my son and daughter to come out from their shcools is my thin place and thin time. I am grateful to find my thin place.
Hi, Becky! Good to be reading/”hearing” your thoughts as part of my Lenten prayers…hope all is well with you and yours…Blessings to you!
“Thin places” is a good term for those special places we feel God’s presence. I’ve got a few myself. But I’m also going to try to flip this around – and think about the “thick places”. Just as “thin places” are where God’s presence is shown a “thick place” is where I block it out. Where in my life are my thoughts, habits, and behaviors putting up a wall between me and God’s will?
I have been praying for a while “God make my life a thin spot for Your presence.”
I think you are so right about ‘Thin Places’ Thin Times’ and ‘Thin People’. I recognise all of these in my life and am so grateful to God who notices me and blesses me with these gifts. The Spiritual Exercises have become a precious ‘Thin’ place where Jesus has come close and drawn me closer to Him.
I discovered ‘Thin places’ (ie physical locations)a number of years ago. Last year I realised those times I regularly sat down with a cappucchino and my journal and catch up with myself, often to do my Ignatian exercises too, were what I now think of as ‘Thin times’.
This year I have realised there are ‘Thin people’, people whom I sense are close enough to God for me to be more aware of Him than usual, or because of the sense of spaciousness about them that leaves room for God to be more present to me as well. One is my Spiritual Director, so maybe you are a ‘Thin person’ too, Becky?
Oh! I understand what you are saying John! Whenever I am helping another of God’s creatures,whether it’s saving worms when I wal,feeding the birds, or grooming my pets, I just remember that God made us all and we all have a soul (see Job12:7-10)
When I pick up my dog with diabetes to give him his insulin dose and eyedrops. The tenderness is overwhelming and gratifying. It’s sharing in how God takes care of us!
Thank you for this. I am a returning catholic. This makes me know I never left.
I have always appreciated the overwhelming awe of nature. I think it was part of my DNA structure. You see, I am of an age where children played outside-if you were home and it was not raining you were outside. At the end of our street was a woods with a few wildflowers and small creek. That was my home. I belonged there. I felt safe. Of course, I didn’t know it then but God was already so active in my daily life. Fastforward to now and I am drawn to all things alive. A spirituality learned from my dad who taught me that the greatest cathedral is often in your backyard. All is divine. We all share the Creature’ s spirit
My thin spaces? My deck where I can watch deer turkeys,squirrel,birds and butterflies play and see the divine in all. Go to the Convents of the Sisters of Charity or go to Olderburg. I think th8n spaces find you and pull you in.
In my wife’s smile before she is fully awake when I take her a cup of tea in the morning
Good job. Pax tecum
Beautiful! I’ve always thought of “thin places” as real Places, never as parts of my daily routines or rhythms. This is a wonderful image to ponder.
mothering spirit, me too! That is why I was so surprised to find God pointing me to daily moments in my day!
I am very grateful for a new dimension to the Examen which I will put into practice during my Examen this evening. Thank you.
Lynda, I look forward to hearing what you discover your “thin places” to be!
Great article. Thanks!