Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Thin Spaces

I am told that Celtic spirituality refers to thin places, those locations -- often geographic -- where we feel most spiritually alive and most closely connected to our Creator. One of most enjoyable parts of my spiritual pilgrimage is discovering those thin places, especially when I travel to new locales. Two weeks ago I traveled to Seattle with my mother and aunt to be with my sister and her husband at the defense of her Ph.D. thesis. Both Justin and Tara now have their doctoral work complete in botany, so we spent much of our time together exploring the natural beauty of Washington State. The stark beauty of the northern Pacific Ocean is exhilirating. Different from the warmth of the Gulf or the south Atlantic, the waves off the coast of northwestern Washington are cool and regal. Experiencing the wide expanse of the horizon while giving attention to the intricate details of marine life remind me of our Creator, vast and limitless, yet intricately involved in the fabric of life.

I was especially enchanted by the starfish which cling to the sides of slippery, algae-covered rocks. In the midst of numerous barnacles and anemones, there is the occasional starfish, often camouflaged black and white. The starfish to the right, though, is a distinctive, bright orange. As we walked late one afternoon on the beach, we watched the tide dissipate and came upon this microcosm of marine biodiversity. Amidst many other life forms, this starfish was firmly ensconced on its protective cleft. Although we did not attempt a vigorous removal (my sister's ecological heightened sensitivites prevented such a scurrilous attack upon nature), we did tug at the starfish. It was unmoving, firmly attached to its secure place of protection. It is a powerful natural example of a deep spiritual truth ... that in the vicissitudes of life, with the pains and challenges of existence incessantly lapping at us, we humans can find a place of secure comfort, a Rock to provide us security.

Stay tuned for more thin spaces to come.

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