Thin Places


trans·fig·ure

/ˌtran(t)sˈfiɡ(y)ər/

verb

transform into something more beautiful.


This past week marked my oldest’s birthday.

I did what I’ve done since she was old enough to understand.

I told her the story of the day she was born.

Her dad’s basketball game.

My water breaking at midnight.

Her dad’s new glasses that made the lights on the way to the hospital feel too bright.

The seemingly endless labor.

The request from the doctor to be moved to a “viewing room” for residents to watch and my permission granted.

My view (as I was pushing) of the line of residents in the windows above as they watched the miracle of birth.

Her dad’s thought when her head came out, “Wow. That’s not a pretty sight. I hope it’s a boy.”

The immediate joy and relief that washed over us when she was pronounced “just fine.”

The foggy wonder of what now?


The miracle of birth is one of the thin places the Celtic speak of, where heaven AND earth touch, even ever so briefly. Where the boundary between the divine AND human becomes almost non-existent, and the two can, for a moment, dance together uninterrupted.

It’s these times where we listen with our souls, not just our ears, dive deeply into those parts of us that are kept quiet during the hustle and bustle of our lives, and maybe, just for a moment, feel God’s presence in a very palpable way.


It’s often too sacred for words.

It’s where we are changed forever.


Today marks the second Sunday of Lent (which I celebrate except I “cheated” on my said child’s birthday and had ice cream with all the toppings…it was delicious!).

It’s a day that reflects on the transfiguration of Jesus.

A very very very thin place.


Where heaven and earth collide.

[“I love my Son. He gives me pleasure.”]


Where there is clarity and mystery.

[Both a bright light and an overshadowing cloud that engulfs.]

Where there is the getting it and the not getting it at all.

[“It’s good for us to be here” and “he did not know what he was saying.”]

Where words cannot describe what's designed for the heart.

[“The disciples kept this to themselves and didn't tell anyone what they had seen."]


The oddest thing happens after we experience a thin place.


We somehow go back to the thick places of life.


Where it feels very earthy and ordinary and mundane.


We wake. We eat. We work. We drink. We play. We rest.


It happened after the transfiguration of Jesus.

And after I took my baby out of her car seat and into our little home.


Back to the commonplace.


But something extraordinary transpires in those thin places.


Something that changes us forever.


Something that we take with us into the thick places.


We are never again the same.


In fact, we are more beautiful.


We are transfigured too.

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