When the Places Are Thinnest

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There is a moment during every work day when I am most receptive to the Divine. It happens right around 10am. I’ve finished all my email for the moment. I’ve downed a cup of coffee. My to-do list is yet to be tackled. Some things are complete. Others are yet to begin. I am Jonah inside the whale of my day.

This morning, right at that moment, our day care kids came out to the playground. At my agency, we provide affordable day care for parents (mostly mothers) who have to be working or in school. Most of our families have an average of two children and live at or below the federal poverty line.

But the kids are still kids. They have not yet strapped on the anxieties of adulthood. They chase each other with grinning abandon. Sometimes they fall down and seek the solace of their teachers. Sometimes they argue over a toy and have to be separated. Sometimes they just need to run in circles for the entire time. In other words, they are exactly like us.

And yet we add layers of complexity to our lives over the next 20 or so years until we barely recognize ourselves. We must become respectable, we tell each other. We must get a “real” job, one that matters. No, not that one. That one doesn’t make much money, does it? That one doesn’t come with an in-office gym membership. That one provides free gourmet lunches! We confuse our vocations with the ways we find to make money. Of course, they can be the same. They do not have to be.

Two friends of mine in Dallas have a term for these moments of proximity between Heaven and Earth: the “thin places.”  At these moments and in these places, the Kingdom is in the process of manifesting itself and is closest to us, right in front of us. Frequently, these moments are so small and short that we miss them. And isn’t that the Kingdom? Our Christ did not come to destroy the world but to save it. The Kingdom comes looking small, acting quiet, being gentle, innocently and unabashedly fragile, weak, needing warm, strong arms to hold it.

Like a child.

Kenneth J. Pruitt is the Director of Volunteer Management & Service Learning at Kingdom House, an IVC partner agency focused on social services and founded during the settlement house movement. Sometimes he blogs, tweets, or hangs out on Facebook. He is proud of St. Louis, his adopted home. His wife is far more attractive and intelligent than he. He loves what you’ve done with your hair.

2 Responses to “When the Places Are Thinnest”

  1. JIM OWENS

    HI KEN THE IRISH (AND OTHER NATIONALITIES) HAVE USED THE EXPRESSION `THIN TIMES’ FOR MANY YEARS TO EXPRESS HOW THEY BECAME AWARE OF MYSTICAL MOMENTS,EG, THOSE WHO HAVE PASSED ON,UNEXPLAINABLE PHENOMENA, ETC. THE OLD IRISH BELIEVED THAT THE CHANGING OF THE SEASONS, ABOUT NOV. 1, WAS AN ESPECIALLY `THIN TIME’. IT IS INTERESTING THAT YOUR REMARKS ARE NOW SO CLOSE TO THIS TIME. THANK YOU JIM OWENS, ST.LOUIS IVC-ER

    Reply
    • Santa

      Alone in the wilderness . I misesd my flight to Sofia on Monday. Friends and family think I am now in Eastern Europe. But, I am experiencing this quiet solitude and thinking about the wilderness and the decisions I will make, soon. I enjoyed a period in a wild place tending sheep and goats. I am now back in the UK and the world is very busy and troubled. We are close to God in the forest, and the cares of the world are far away. Yet we must return to the world to shape our destiny in it. Changed though by the wilderness. I will get a later flight I think and walk in the forest again, a place where the eagles are, wolves and bears roam and all is in perfect order.

      Reply

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