A few weeks ago, a friend (thankyou Aileen!) reminded me of the phrase ‘a thin place’. In other words, a place that is close to heaven. I’m sure you’ve all been somewhere like that, where you feel that you only need to stretch out your hand to touch something outside of your finite life. It could be a wide, open expanse of sky, a canopy of stars, a smashing sea, a mountain-top panorama…
Of course, my number one thin place is Donegal, a place that someone once said was just ‘too beautiful to take in’. I could think of others too – the garden of the Nunnery in Iona, a church in St. Guillaume le Desert in the south of France, the living room of my husband’s grandparents. Of course, for me, these places had significance because of all the prayers that had been uttered in them, but I think other people unaware of that depth would still be stopped in their tracks.
I wonder if, in the same way, we can encounter ‘thin’ people too? Perhaps it is a mercy of grief that I recognise this in some who have passed on. Or maybe when I think of them now, I see how at home they would be in heaven. It’s a gentleness,a kindness, a preference for listening over speaking, a sense of peace. Thinking about my snappy presence as a mum, I’m not sure I’ve got that. Yet. But I’m sure going to spend time with people who can show me how.
I am so thankful, in this dark, filthy life, for the places and the people that point me to something beyond. Something eternal.