It can happen beneath a starry sky, during a prayer of sincere thanks, upon hearing laughter spill from a tiny child, and almost always while watching the sun rise over the ocean: heaven draws near. I’ve been noticing the “thin places” all my life without having a name for them.
While reading one of Shauna Niequist’s beautiful devotionals in her book Savor, she acquainted me with the concept of “thin places” in Irish folklore. They exist where the boundary between the physical world and the spiritual world is barely present. In Irish lore, thin places can be found at certain ancient monuments, during specific holidays, as well as in natural places like riverbanks (and anywhere land gives way to water).
A couple of years ago, I heard a sermon by Matt Chandler in which he encouraged people to notice the physical things that make them feel closest to God. I remember him saying coffee in the early morning was one of those things for him. I find this concept delightful—the physical intertwining with the spiritual, one leading to another like the notes of a swelling song.
Music, for me, can be a thin place–the “Flower Duet,” for instance, or the gentle guitar in a folksong. Flowers, too, are peep holes into heaven. A glimpse may be waiting within the perfume of soft petals or sparkling on rosebuds splashed with morning dew. There is something about dawn. During the waking moments when sleep has not quite loosened its grip, my soul is most tender, most meshed with, most dependent on my Savior.
Many a children’s book is a thin place for me. Heaven is shining through the pages of books such as Old Pig, Prayer for a Child, Charlotte’s Web, Little House in the Big Woods, and even Bedtime for Frances.
Tonight, while petting the kitty that comes to visit our house, I found an unexpected thin place. His purrs of contentment, the way he laid his furry head upon my foot as if to hug me, his trust of someone so gigantic compared to him– made me want to trust God more completely, to lay at Jesus’s feet, to be comforted by the touch of His hand.
What are the thin places for you? May you experience them often!