One time, I wrote about thin places. It was in my dreaming life, and the words spilled forth fluidly. Celtic Christians explain thin places as places where the boundary between heaven and earth is so thin you can almost see to the other side, a place where God is so near, where transcendence is touchable, knowable. In my sleep, it was easier to grasp and to express, because dreaming was, and often is for me, a thin place.
The evening before I wrote in my dreams, my daughter and I sat around my cousin, Jennifer’s, kitchen table looking at pictures. My cousin had originally begun looking through her computer files to find a specific picture of her daughter, a photograph that captured so well the way her Abby-girl lived life–bounding and springing with a sparkle in her eyes, taking in information eagerly to get to the next event, paying attention to the details of people and things. I guess it was on Jennifer’s mind to find the photo, because our afternoon had been spent at the Dallas Arboretum with Abby as our tour guide. We all enjoyed being led from each point of discovery, always watching Abby skip ahead and calling over her shoulder which way to go. Jennifer said she just really wanted to find the photo.
For two hours, we sat while she scrolled through their story in the icons of file folders. We stopped frequently to laugh and remember, to listen to Jennifer or Abby or Aunt Betty recount the details beyond the captured frame. Sequences of memories danced on the screen, drawing us into something sacred. Our bellies tight with laughter, we danced in the mystery, living and breathing in the memories as if they were materializing all over again. We hovered in a thin space where death was not allowed, where life is eternal, where time crossed lines and fused all together. We tasted something holy, touched it with our fingers, felt it brush our cheeks.
Abby skipped through the pathways of the park, leading us like sheep. She took us to a thin place. I was still there when I drifted off to sleep, when I dreamed that it was possible to describe it.