I was not able to access my blog while in Israel. After I got home, I realized I had the incorrect password. So I am left with telling people about my trip after the fact and while I am, at the same time, having to get my brain around my real life…the one still here in Minnesota that has been waiting for me. Fortunately, I have plenty of notes that I entered into the lovely journal created for me by my daughter, Heidi, book artist extraordinaire. Before I write about the trip, I want to share something about my coming home.
One of the questions I carried to Israel has to do with the importance of place. I am aware that there are particular places on the earth that are considered sacred, Jerusalem being one of them. A few years ago, Bernie and I were on a trip to Arizona where we were privileged to have passed through the land of the Havasupai Indians in order to go down into the bottom lands of the Grand Canyon. They don’t let anyone go through their land, but we were with Road Scholar and they knew that our guide would teach us about their people and about the soul of their land. I learned that for the Havasupai, this land was sacred, a place where they as a people could connect with the Great Spirit and with their ancestors.
I remember coming home thinking about this idea of lands being sacred. This trip had started in Sedona, Arizona, a place considered sacred by many, a “thin place”, as one of my friends on the Israel trip called it. This friend, Diane, was telling me about another place, an island off of Ireland that she and another woman had gone to. She felt the spiritual connection, she said, that one was to expect in going there. She said that thin places are spots on the earth where it seems the veil or wall between the earth’s inhabitants and the divine are weaker than in other places. I have heard this said about Stonehenge, that circle of tall mysterious stones in Wiltshire, Engalnd. I did not feel this sacredness in Sedona or at the Havasupai reservation. I thought at the time that perhaps I am just not spiritually sensitive enough like other people. I am afraid to admit to you reading my blog today, that I didn’t feel it in Israel either.
When I got home from the Arizona trip, I remember walking around my property here in Minnesota, thinking to myself, “Is this little five acre plot any less holy than these other places? Does God play favorites with some portions of the earth just as he has been said to play favorites with people?”
Yesterday morning, my first full day home, I walked out on the property again to greet the sun as is my practice. As soon as I hit the spot where the fresh air touches my face, the aroma of the barely budding fauna, the sound of the birds coming back to Minnesota or headed to the north and I knew. I knew! This is my thin place. Countless days I have walked about talking things over with God, laughing or crying, listening, touching. I believe that God is not a God of places but a God of hearts that are open.
Please don’t assume that just because I didn’t have an profound experience of sacred place that I didn’t have profound experiences while in Israel. I plan to share some of these in the days to come.
Meanwhile, to those of you who kept checking in to see when I would be returning…I am here. Happy to be home in my thin place in Minnesota.