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For centuries, Celtic Christians have identified a “thin place” as a location where the veil between heaven and earth becomes especially sheer; a place where the unseen reality of God’s Kingdom is made vivid to the senses; a place where the Presence of God is unmistakable as it rouses the deepest spaces within the human heart.
I can’t recall a conversation with a sage that suspended me in a thin place for as long a sacred period as this one.
John is a hero of mine and of many who was given a terminal diagnosis nine months ago: his cancer had returned with vigor, having spread into his lungs. He had already journeyed nine years with cancer, endured seven surgeries and multiple rounds of chemo, and at this juncture he felt the quiet, stirring invitation to choose quality of life over further medical intervention which, at best, could only delay his death. A physician himself, John said yes to living the fullness of life on behalf of those he loves, for however many more weeks and months he is granted.
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Decades from now when I look back on these years of raising young children, I doubt that few memories will be more superb than the nights we have chosen to pause – snuggling up fireside or by hurricane lamp, breathing a bit slower, letting our souls catch up with our lives (if only for a few moments) – to savor and listen as a family to an epic story via audio book.
A most treasured audio book series that we return to regularly (of course!) is C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia.
In The Silver Chair, Aslan charges Jill to remember the crucial signs that will guide her on her seemingly impossible quest to rescue Prince Rilian. If she can just cling to Aslan’s words and follow the signs he gave her, she will most certainly find her way. His counsel strikes me again as I lift my eyes toward the expanse of 2015…
But, first, remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters.
In the spirit of remembering, I’ve highlighted below a few signposts on the treasure map we’ve stumbled upon together in past years. I hope you enjoy remembering. Click on the links below to dig deeper…