in my almost 8 years in East Africa i’ve experienced quite a few life altering thin place moments, where you know there is no real distinction between what we see and what we don’t. where angels become real and the physical somehow loses its power.
however, the longer I live here, what was once exotic becomes the familiar and thus, i have to look a little harder and pay attention a little more in order to notice when i suddenly and surprisingly find myself in the midst of that space where you can feel the spiritual.
over the last year, i’ve been in a constant state of wonder because i was pregnant and had our first baby. there is something so magically spiritual about being pregnant, and then about meeting and getting to know your new little human. but there are plenty of hard days as well, as any parent knows. and sometimes you just need a little break.
a couple months ago, during one of these much needed breaks i found myself alone for the first time since saoirse had been born, wading into the perfect bliss of mombasa’s indian ocean sometime between high tide and low tide. that space in between tides is the best time to relax in the water because though it is moving slowly outwards, it is somehow at its stillest. it was morning, hardly a soul on the beach, and i had the ocean virtually all to myself. and so i walked until the water reached my thighs and then i decided to just sit crossed legged in the water and be. i sat pondering our impending move away from our beloved sleepy beach town, mombasa, and into kenya’s bustling capitol city nairobi. we had already made the decision to move, to take the promotion and resettle our little family, again. but it weighed heavily on my heart, fear of the unknown and sadness to leave the sea.
i sat there in the water and breathed deeply, letting the salt and the sun soak deep into my bones. trying to implant the beauty as firmly in my mind as possible because this privilege of walking out our front door and into the ocean was soon to become a distant memory. i mourned the changing of seasons in our life, even as i welcomed it with open arms.
this lonely spot in the ocean was a thin place indeed, but I didn’t yet know just how thin. until a lone orange butterfly fluttered in front of me. i wondered at the site of a butterfly over the ocean, like perhaps it was somehow lost. you expect to see butterflies while sitting in a grassy field or even perhaps in a forest. i did not expect to see one flutter over my head like a kiss from the heavens while i sat in the ocean 25 yards from the shore.
and just then, at least a hundred more perfectly orange butterflies followed, fluttering their beautifully clumsy dance just out my arms reach. I smiled and inhaled the beauty all around me, like i was in a dream.
and i knew that the Divine was in fact sending me hundreds of kisses, letting me know that the upcoming change would be beautiful…as change almost always is.
will you share some thin place moments from your lives?