Thin places

I was on my way to pick my kids up from school, and I stopped to take this photograph in spite of being rather late. I can’t help myself. I can’t take a drive on a clear day without stopping somewhere along the road to take a photo of the mountains. One would think after nearly two years of the same view, I would learn to stop living like a tourist.  My husband told a friend that living here, looking on the beauty of the Alps is a spiritual experience. That might sound dramatic and all existential-y, but it is true. Our friend knew just what he meant, responding by calling it a ‘thin place’.

Thin places are the ones where the line between the world we know and the one we don’t begins to blur. It is where we catch a glimpse of God’s Kingdom within the boundaries of our own. I think we can experience them in all manner of ways, they aren’t just mountain top experiences. Thin places may show up in the birth of a child, in the way you love and are loved, in your work, in the change of the seasons, in the miraculous and in the messy. The thin places are there.

I’ve been thinking about these places as I think about art. For me, good art is that which expresses a thin place. I think that is part of the role of the artist. To find the thin places. To capture them in words or music or color, to trap them behind a lens or mold them in clay. An artist sees beyond what this world is to what it should be, they see the hard and know that somewhere in that, there might be Holy too.