What is a thin place? I first heard about thin places in a sermon at my church. A quick look online and I realized the term has been adopted by all kinds of folks in the spiritual, travel and literary world to talk about special places where one feels closer to the divine, the universe, to creation. According to Eric Weiner a travel writer for the New York Times it is a place where the distance between heaven and earth collapses. Here are a couple of my thin places. This is a bridge in a park in Steinbach Manitoba where I lived for nearly four decades. For many, many years I did a long morning walk and this bridge was included in my route. It is here I would stop for a few minutes to think about the important people in my life and to say a prayer for each one of them. This is Tao Fong Shan the Lutheran Church we attended during the six years we lived in Hong Kong. It was a peaceful lovely place and I so appreciated the liturgy of the Sunday evening services that settled my soul and prepared me for the week ahead. For two years we lived nearby and early Sunday morning I would hike up to Tao Fong Shan which stood on the top of the Mountain of the Christ Wind. There was a beautiful underground crypt where I would go to pray. During the year we lived in Arizona on the Hopi First Nation our family did lots of hiking but our favorite place to explore and climb was Coal Mine Canyon, a spot of breath-taking natural beauty not too far from our home. Often we were the only people there. We’d see so many colorful birds and watch legions of little brightly-hued lizards. We’d shout out to each other just to hear the lovely echoes. The rock formations were stunning, the sky so blue, the sun so warm. It was a place to feel close to the people I loved and to the wonders of creation. And as I have written many times before our family’s cottage at Moose Lake has always been a place of beauty, peace, and solace for me. I visit it annually and hope I can do so for the rest of my life.
What are your thin places? Are they places close to home or did you discover them on a trip? Where does the distance between heaven and earth collapse for you?