Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thin Places

"The ancient Celtics believed in what they called 'thin places.' These are the places where the natural and the supernatural worlds come together at their narrowest, with only a thin veil between them. When you're in a thin place you're able to catch a glimpse of God and it becomes easier to sense his presence . . . God knows it's difficult for us to remember that he's with us, so he does all kinds of things to capture our attention. We need to pay attention and look for those flickers of God in unexpected places."
Vince Antonucci, I Became a Christian and All I Got was this Lousy T-shirt

two weeks of thin places
leave me gaping with a grin
like a present when it isn't my birthday or Christmas. . .

when dog-sitting for a weekend
brought slobbery grins and a funny authoritative voice
that turns a five year old into a worthy master
all the while I was dreading the lip-quivering good-byes
that didn't even cross her mind until the moment they drove away
with his ears flapping a careless good-bye
As I watched her bottom lip jut out and her chest begin to bounce
I walked into that thin place where
there was a whisper reminder
that everything is on loan from You
we can dread the time to give it back
or choose to embrace it while it lasts

a weekend of celebrating volunteers
left a charlie horse in my face from grinning
still amazed I get to have fun and call it a job
still in awe of those I get to serve with
still gaping at how You place us all like chess pieces
and there it was, another thin place
where I saw You in the faces around me
learning how to love You even more
by watching them love each other

a holiday weekend brought a party next door
I caught my little girl watching from afar
That extrovert ache pulling her
into a world where she wasn't invited
a property line she couldn't cross
and the laughter of the children
calling to her like a siren
she would walk along the yard lines
marked only by occasional trees
but even with no fences and at least fifty sets of eyes
no one waved or winked, no one even noticed
and I was sad
but not just for her
the summer breeze brought another thin place
where I wondered how many times
We, the Church, can miss chances to invite people to You
because we're too busy throwing our own parties

warm sunshine brought out the sprinklers, bathing suits, and fishing poles
every catch was a celebration
but the pursuit was the real joy
watching our bobbers for our next scaly friend to admire
but I had trouble keeping my eyes on mine
because I was seeing You in my husband
in his zone of joy in nature
I've always loved his eyes
this grayish blue that reminds me
of an ethereal portal in some sci-fi blockbuster
or maybe the ocean waves without the cliche
I've seen them squint as deadlines and bills
tighten like a vice around his head and no pill seems to shake it
but it was only the reflection of the sun on the water
and the smile he couldn't hide behind his Mountain Dew chugs
Who knew dirty hands that smelled like earthworms could be so attractive?
But I chose to behave since his mother was visiting . . . : )
I felt the hook as you reeled me into another thin place
grateful to sit beside him on the dock in his moment of peace

Her last day of preschool
one big party for her and her friends
I dropper her off a little sleepy, shiney and new
and picked up a dusty and dirty crazy kid
renewed by a day of playing in the dirt with friends
a fast forward moment for me
she's growing up too fast
and I just have to marvel
every time I turn around she's trying something new
a visit to the playground where she set a goal to master the monkey bars
pacing herself, adding one more to each try
I could see the pain, the fatigue, and the tenacity
as I urged her to take a break and try again later
but she would not stop until she got to ten
her grin and furrowed brow were the cue to step back
and her hot pink blisters were the cue to step back in
and I knew You had big plans for her
then she'll say and mean these things that are just so wise
and she hasn't even started kindergarten!
she's moving a little closer to a companion every day
taking walks beside me, noticing everything and asking me
a million questions because she trusts in my answers
and we walk in another thin place holding hands
and I long for You to be able to say
the exact same things about me
to be able to look down at me
the way I look at her
I would be growing up so fast
that You would just have to marvel
so for now I'll just keep adding another monkey bar,
finding friends who aren't afraid of the dirt, walking with You,
and asking a million questions
trusting and listening for Your answers in the
thin places

"My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God? . . .
By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life." Psalm 42: 2-8


Sarah Koutz said...

I love this post. One of my favorites.

Sarah Rulli said...

ditto Sarah K. this is awesome.

michellewegner said...

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God? . . .
By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life." Psalm 42: 2-8

This is one of my life verses. I think about it all the time, and i even made a t-shirt with a sketch and this verse on it once. Is that weird or what?
Anyways, you are an absolutely brilliant writer. I am so glad you are on staff at GCC and mostly that you have eyes to see the "thin places."

Sarah said...

i thoroughly agree with michelle wegner. you are such a spectular tool for God! im so glad you continue to keep your heart open to Him. you are truly touching lives through His gift. Thank you for using it as He intended! Love you seeeester! and i am forever grateful you are apart of my life!