Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ellis Island: A Thin Place

The following video is such a great inside look at Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty that I wanted to share it with you. I felt the same way the visitors interviewed here felt--in awe. Everyone I've spoken to who has visited Ellis Island says the same thing. You get a feeling of appreciation, wonder, and respect. You might even sense the same thing by watching videos like this.

Seeing this caused me to contemplate the concept referred to as "a thin place" in Ireland. There are certain places where you can feel God's presence more than others. Many times these are settings in nature, but not always. Perhaps some places--because they are places of historical significance, because the people who came before us experienced something incredible there--hold a remainder of those experiences that we can still sense today. I've heard people say that about Gettysburg, for example. There are cathedrals and places of worship that exude emotion even when empty. Sometimes graveyards are the same way, and I have to wonder if it's because so many people have been there experiencing grief that still lies heavy on the place when they've gone away. In Annie's Stories there is a brief description of Annie wondering the same thing.

Thin places are often referred to in Celtic spirituality, but I believe it is a common experience with people all over the world where in certain locations, whether we seek them out or stumble upon them, the separation between heaven and earth is particularly thin.

What do you think? Is Ellis Island one of those places?