I recently discovered the ethereal fact that in Ireland there are historical geographic sites called thin places. You can take a tour of them –sacred natural landscapes where the distance between this world and heaven are said to be thin. Where God seems closer.
This was a fascinating concept but not practical, for a woman who was worrying about having grocery money to finish the month, let alone money to buy a plane ticket to Ireland. I wondered if there were any thin places a little closer to home. An actual place where I could make a pilgrimage, to seek the presence of God.
I mean no sacrilege or an ounce of disrespect toward the Irish, but the only thin place I can think of, in my landscape, is the bathroom.
Perhaps only moms can truly understand, when I say the bathroom is often the only place to find solitude.
The bathroom has a door you can close.
It’s a room where people (except very little ones) usually leave you alone for a few minutes.
There is one thing we’re looking for, and David expresses it well in lyric form:
One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4 NIV)
Gazing upon the beauty of the Lord in his temple –doesn’t that sound wonderful?
But instead I’m a homemaker, and what I’ve got most hours of the day is a house on the east side of town, with full laundry hampers and a sink full of dirty dishes.
The thinnest place I’ve found for the weekdays is a little room with a door, where the tasks of the day are set aside for a moment. Where the hot water runs over my face as I pray and where the Sonicare vibrates, while I have a little time to think and to talk to God.
The bathroom is where I gaze upon the beauty of the Lord while I floss, put on deodorant, and apply eyeliner. By all appearances it is not a temple, but I have prayed many serious prayers while standing over the bathroom sink.
In the bathroom is where God confirmed in my heart he wanted me to go teach the Bible for a few weeks in Uganda. Over a squeeze of Crest and a handful of multivitamins the Lord convinced me I should give up the curriculum I loved and ask the children’s director about pursuing the Awana program (which took us from 30 kids at Wednesday church to about 150). I was towel drying my hair when God pinned me to the wall about forgiving a friend.
The mystery isn’t so much in finding a historically sacred location as it is in seeking thin. Wanting to be so close to God that we reach out for him in the moment.
Where is your favorite place to seek God?