It is officially August. Is it just me or is this the month that has always felt like the leftovers in the fridge that you really should eat but for which you have no desire? They’ve just been sticking around a little too long and while you can’t justify throwing them away just yet, you also are lacking the wherewithal to turn them in to something edible, let alone delicious. Perhaps it’s something about it being the eighth month, just one past the perfect number seven and the gobs of fun jammed into every July. I don’t know what it is, but that’s August for ya- at least in my book. Who’s with me? [No offense if your birthday or anniversary falls in August- my condolences].
Instead of succumbing to the lackadaisical temptations of this month, perhaps this year we can take advantage of these last precious weeks at a more relaxed pace to linger with God.
One of my favorite authors, Shauna Niequist, writes about the old Celtic idea of “thin places,” a way to describe the spaces and places in your life where the boundary between the natural world and the supernatural one becomes a little more sheer, almost translucent.
One of my favorite Celtic ideas is the concept of thin places. A thin place, according to the Celtic mystics, is a place where the boundary between the natural world and the supernatural one is more permeable–thinner, if you will… places where the boundary between the divine world and the human world becomes almost nonexistent, and the two, divine and human, can for a moment, dance together uninterrupted. – Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet
These places can be literal, like the beloved little nook of an outlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway that became a favorite place for me and my husband back in our mountain days. It could be a season, like Advent, a particularly captivating piece of music, or even the briefest moment as you look at your child during a fleeting moment of sweetness. Really, it’s any place where the boundary between the eternal world we’ve tasted and the human world we know dissipates before us and we sense Jesus’ almost/not-yet kingdom.
So what if you spent these dog days of summer looking and praying for a “thin place” or two, a place where you can reach across the line from human to sacred and touch the goodness that God has for you? Thin places don’t always derive from joy or beauty alone, but can be initiated just as well by brokenness and heartbreak. Scripture makes clear that God meets his people in a variety of places and spaces, many of which are more surprising than not (ahem… can you say ‘burning bush’?!). Wherever you are this August, don’t discount God’s ability to create a thin place for you where you can experience him and his kingdom anew. Tear your eyes away from the TV and keep them peeled for a thin place or two. When you find it, take a deep breath, be present, and let it refresh you- mentally, spiritually, emotionally, because…
If we don’t, we miss some of the best moments that life with God has to offer us. – Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet