A Thin Place

July 20, 2009 | 20 comments

One word was left for us.

They intended for us to discover it. Before packing their suitcases and leaving for home, they came to the backyard of their home-away-from-home to fashion a single word with fist-sized stones: FRINGE.


I found the word when I stepped into the quiet. I came out to the deck of our Colorado rental home to look at snow-dappled mountains and breathe thin, Rocky Mountain air.

On the ground, below my lookout, I found the lone word.

FRINGE.

It was left on purpose, but for what purpose?

I puzzled over the word all week long, and what it might have meant to those who set it in stone before our family came.

By week’s end, my nephews had rearranged the stones to spell our family’s last name: DUKES. It would become our one-word mystery for the next set of vacationers here.

I still don’t know what FRINGE meant to the ones who spelled it out before I arrived. But I know what it meant to me by the time I left.

For I found the FRINGE in a “thin place.”

***

The Celtic people of ancient Ireland had a word for places like these — where Heaven seems nearer. They called them “thin places.”

Where the veil between this world
and the next One
is thin
like gossamer,
where lines blur between
ordinary
and holy
Until you can’t tell the difference between the two.
Where two worlds crash,
but still,

no sound is heard.

I found a thin place on top of the mountain with my oldest daughter last week. I found a port where God seemed closer and Heaven seemed nearer, and this world invisibly touched the next. It was a place where the air was thin, and the Spirit was thick. Where aspen and pine brushed the entrance to Home.

“Where is the ending place?” Lydia asked me, curled up on a rock where we rested and looked at how far we’d come. “It seems like I can see forever.”

“That’s because you can,” I told her. “God set ‘Forever’ in your heart. And you can see it with Soul-Eyes.”

I wrapped an arm around her, and in the touching of mother and daughter, this thin place shrunk even thinner.

We were on the FRINGE — two souls sitting on the edge of eternity.

And that’s when a backyard word, set in stone, found the Word, set in stone. Right there on the FRINGE of a thin place …



Photos: A message in the yard.
A view Heavenward.
My “thin place,” out on the fringe.

***

Tell me, friend, have you experienced a thin place?

by | July 20, 2009 | 20 comments

20 Comments

  1. Anne L.B.

    I know well the thin air of the Rockies where the peaks and treetops brush Heaven. Where the veil is so sheer it needn't even be pulled back to see the Creator. It's a lovely place.

    Sometimes in the prayer closet, after much travail and much stillness, the veil may be even thinner.

    Reply
  2. Carolyn

    That’s beautiful. I had never heard the phrase ‘thin place’ but have definitely experienced it. I am curious to see the responses because the thin places I’ve felt were outdoors and in areas not heavily altered by people. Hiking to a waterfall at a state park in Illinois, sitting on a cliff overlooking the ocean in New Brunswick… there is something about being among nature that reflects the power and beauty of God.
    Thank you for this post, it is good to reflect on moments such as these.

    Reply
  3. Tabitha@ichoosebliss

    This was absolutely beautiful. I've never been to Colorado, but for a minute I felt as if I were there. 🙂

    Reply
  4. RCUBEs

    "Thin place"…never heard about it…but I want to be there 🙂

    No matter how we look at everything, you're right, "God set forever in our hearts". My own version:
    F- orever
    R- est
    I- n
    N- ever-ending
    G- od's
    E- ternal Kingdom

    Reply
  5. Julie

    Thanks you for sharing those breath taking moments with us!~

    Reply
  6. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    RCUBEs! That rocks.

    Anne — I always appreciate your insights. So true — thin places have more to do with communing with God, than a physical place.

    Carolyn — Welcome to this place, and thank you for sharing your views.

    Tabitha — Colorado is beautiful. While there, I found myself continually drawn into the various ways that the authors of the Bible use "mountains" to demonstrate God's power through Creation.

    Reply
  7. Monica

    Yes, I have.
    Right here, friend.

    Reply
  8. lynnrush

    Nicely written. I lived in Colorado for some time, and when I'd climb up those mountains on my mountain bike then find a rock to rest on….I felt closer to heaven, indeed.

    So beautiful there. Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply
  9. Billy Coffey

    One of these days, I'm going to see the Rockies. It's one of my life's dreams. Until then, thanks for letting me tag along…

    Reply
  10. Lyla Lindquist

    Until you can't tell the difference between the two.
    Where two worlds crash,
    but still,
    no sound is heard.

    This would be enough for me. I didn't need to read further.

    But I did. And found Lydia got in on it too.

    Where is the ending place?

    And now I can say nothing. Not everyone can leave me that way. Thank you.

    Reply
  11. Kristi L

    I have shared your blog site with so many people ~ for this very reason. Your gift of writing down what you experience and feel in your heart is such an inspiration ~ I always have "feel good" moments when I read "Getting Down With Jesus" ~ moments that make me think and reflect. FRINGE is a huge arts festival in Boulder that they hold each summer ~ maybe that's what the rocks represented ~ but your "fringe in a thin place" is so much cooler. Definitely, in the quiet of nature, is when i've personally experienced thin places.

    Reply
  12. forrestina vintage

    Living in the beauty that is Oregon it's not hard to find the thin places often. Your blog is one of the very few I send email shares to folks that don't even read blogs.

    Thanks oxo
    Tina

    Reply
  13. Jennifer

    I love what you told Lydia–seeing with your "soul eyes." Yes, my soul looks out on God's creation and sees perfection, eternity, hope…all those things the soul was made for, was made to desire and understand.

    Reply
  14. Amy Jo

    Beautiful photo & post. Thanks for sharing your heart and insights. 🙂

    Love the mystery…I may have to leave words in unique places to get people thinking as well. Or is that just downright cruel???

    Praying your day is especially blessed!

    – Amy

    Reply
  15. LisaShaw

    This is absolutely beautiful.

    FRINGE — a thin place.

    Blessings dear sister.

    Reply
  16. Chris

    Beautiful!

    Reply
  17. Connie Arnold

    That's really lovely! Thanks for sharing it.

    Reply
  18. Angie Vik

    What a neat way to describe those moments when heaven seems near. I sort of had a "thin place" experience last Sunday and posted about it today. But I didn't describe it as well as you do. I love your writing and I shared your blog this week with a friend from church. God bless.

    Reply
  19. Tea With Tiffany

    Beautiful experience you had with your girl and with GOD.

    Thin places. I'll be thinking about mine. Where do I start?

    Reply
  20. Claire

    There are many thin places in Ireland. I am discovering more and more of them everyday!

    I can sense His presence around me here.

    When I saw the word "fringe" the verse in the Bible that is found in the story of Jesus feeding the 5 thousand comes to mind. Jesus reminds His diciples to take care of the fragments that were left behind on the fringes of the crowd. This verse has always had particular significance in my spiritual walk.

    Reply

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