Thin Places and Thin Layers

Dear Reader:

This beautifully whimsical painting of St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope by New Zealand artist, Gerda Smit, always makes me smile. She actually saw a picture of the chapel on-line and then drew her creative interpretation of it. Later another New Zealander, Matt Oliver, saw the painting on Face Book, called the artist and bought a reproduction for his room. He then let me know about it significance to him in his life-(He thought I was the owner.)

He said the painting (now on his bedroom wall) gave him “hope for a better life when we pass from this world into the future. I guess I could say hope is why I have faith. In a world where I am bombarded by the requirement for absolute proof every day, having faith can be challenging, yet I know the moment God shows himself and provides the absolute proof…then there will no longer be a need for faith. 

So there you have it, a tiny chapel seemingly in the middle of nowhere, now hangs on the wall of a house literally half way around the world, in the North Island of New Zealand.

St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope is my personal “thin place.” I think it is for Matt also…even  never having seen it in person.

Author Karen White, in her latest book ‘Dreams of Falling’ describes thin places.

Caol Ait: Thin Places.

“Gaelic for where this world and the next are said to be too close. According to legend, heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in thin places, that distance is even closer.

…Thin places are places where time stands still and the secular world brushes against the sacred.”

From the first time I entered St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope in July 2010 I felt a warm, hospitable Presence there…it was as if Beverly Barutio (creator and owner) was welcoming me to her special place. That sense of homecoming and total acceptance has never left me…visit after visit. Time does stand still each time I go… I feel like the clock stops ticking for those precious minutes I spend there.

Kelly Rae Roberts wrote down her thoughts on ‘thin places’ taking another perspective which I like too…thin places in our daily lives and experiences.

“I think life’s intimacy meet us in those thin places where things are both messy and beautiful, where perhaps our hearts feel like train wrecks but we still work to see the delicate beauty that lives in those spaces. Transitions are where the ground is fertile for this kind of intimacy: grief work, new parenthood, any experience where we are forced to transform into a new way of being in the world.

“…These are the moments. They force us to trust our own hearts, stay a little longer in what feels hard, and come through with a clearer sense of not just ourselves, but also how joy and hard often live together, and how that is a beautiful, messy truth.” 

I like the idea that there are sacred places, thin places that speak to us spiritually while we are ‘trusting the truth’ and discovering who we really are inside. A winning combination…tough but worth achieving.

You can imagine while my thoughts were headed in that direction, I was temporarily detoured by another article that talked about “Thin Layers.” Thin layers? The more I read the more I realized the importance of both in my life.

Source: Author: Elizabeth Minkel

There’s a quote from the author Paul Bogard in the first episode of our new podcast, “The Thin Layer,” that has haunted me ever since I heard it:

…in the States and in Europe people spend between 90 and 95 percent of their time inside now…I started to think that for most of us, even when we walk outside, we walk on pavements and it really spoke to me of how we become so separated from the ground at our feet. We just never touch our feet to soil, we never touch our feet to natural ground.

Life depends on a thin layer of soil, wrapped around the planet like the skin of an apple. A quarter of all life itself actually lives in soil. We grow our food in it; it is a source of medicines and illness; it filters our water; it provides nutrition for our food. Its importance is incalculable—but it’s easy to miss.

After reading this article…I realized that so much of the lure of the mountains is the outside nature part…the views from different elevations, the forests, the rocks, the streams and rivers….and yes…the soil…the ground. Without it as the foundation to support the mountains…there would be none. Isn’t it sad that people can live and die in the world today without ever having touched their “feet to soil, or natural ground?

So until tomorrow…Look upward, keep climbing…but always keep your feet on the ground.

“Today is my favorite day.”

* Several of you were interested in getting more information about Juice Plus so I called my friend Janet and here is her contact information. She said she would love to talk to you or email/text…whatever you prefer and answer all your questions.

*I love it…and it makes me feel better about getting enough veggies and fruits in me daily.

Janet Bender

on Facebook & Messenger:
Janet M Bender
“Nutritionally Fueled” page

We went shopping while at Honey’s pottery “stash”  and I brought back a wonderful assortment of more small vases to put a pretty little flower or blossom in… to bring a smile to someone needing a smile. I love them.


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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4 Responses to Thin Places and Thin Layers

  1. bcparkison says:

    Grounding….walking around in bare feet so we do have a connection to the earth. Takes some getting use to after all these years of shoes but it is good for us. ( just don’t step on a bee.) LOL


    • Becky Dingle says:

      I started thinking about it and you really don’t see children playing these days and really getting dirty like they used to when we grew up….playing in the dirt barefoot in the summer….life’s greatest delight…wiggling one’s toes in dirt and mud….best sensation of childhood!.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Becky Dingle says:

    We hear about getting back to our roots…but getting back to our soil…grounded… is equally important.


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