The Thin Place
Over this past summer, our family welcomed another new addition to the crew. Sweet Mackenzie joined the ever growing Cavanagh bunch. No matter how big our family grows, each person is a special miracle that is just as important as the rest. My brother and sister-in-law provided me with the honor of being Mack’s Godmother. When they asked- it was a no brainer- of course- I will love and support this child forever, love her like my own- no doubt! As the Baptism grew closer, I felt a little bit of anxiety creep in. My parents, my in-laws- they are all very full of faith and seem to have a deep understanding of God and a life that is much bigger than us. I believe in God, I teach my children about God- but I am at times confused. When I go to church- I cry and feel angry or sad. I wonder about why people have to hate, why some people are homeless, why children have cancer, why young mothers are taken from their families too soon- so many questions- so many situations I have been exposed to in my adult life that I can’t make sense of. Then, I push it all deep down and get lost into the day to day hustle and bustle of things. I find myself getting irritated about the little things; like the bed not being made, or my kids leaving their bikes in the driveway, my husband pooping in the downstairs bathroom before company comes over. I tell you all this because I finally had an “aha moment”; one that I believe was a gift from my sweet Charlie Boy. One that I will try to hold onto for all my life.
We head up to Minnesota for Mackenzie’s Baptism. The weekend was fun and full of laughs, and then came Sunday morning- the morning of the Baptism. I wake up feeling that lump in my stomach- the anxiety about going to church- the anger surfacing that I never got to experience Charlie’s Baptism. I begin to picture what that little boy would be doing right now- probably running in the church and making faces at us, flipping through books and dropping goldfish on the floor. So many emotions. Walking up to the church, holding onto my daughters hands, I feel so worried and my eyes are filling with tears. We are quickly ushered into the bride room where we meet church staff that walk us through the mass. My brother is holding onto Mackenzie- and she is fussing a bit but looking just beautiful- a little gift from God. My head is swirling about and I am feeling overcome with emotions- and in that moment- she rests her little fist under chin and is looking right at her dad- there is light shining in… just like a movie. Mackenzie has on a beautiful bracelet that her mother wore when she was baptized, dressed in all white, she looks like an angel. Charlie- God- who knows- is saying that they are there- it is okay. I can’t quite explain how I felt so calm and reassured in that moment. Like I was in this sacred- Heavenly place and all was right with the world. I believe that was the first time in my life that I truly heard everything that was being said in mass, that I really understood that life is so much bigger than me. The Priest said- you will not truly be at peace until you learn to “let go”. Just let go of whatever it is that has you so worked up. Give it up. For some reason- after 36 years of going to church- something stuck. An “Aha moment”.
This hour in Minnesota would replay in my mind for a thousand times to come over the next several weeks. A few weeks later, Brendan sent an article about something my dad had been telling him about around the time that Charlie died. It was called “The Thin Place”. I had never heard of this (perhaps I had, but wasn’t listening). Thin places are defined as places of energy. A place where the veil between this world and the eternal world is thin. A thin place is where one can walk in two worlds- the worlds are fused together, knitted loosely where the differences can be discerned or tightly where the two worlds become one.
I am not sure if that is where I was on that miraculous day- but it sure felt like it. Since that moment, I have found myself listening more and trying to be more forgiving and understanding. Through opening my ears, I have found that there are so very many people fighting so many battles. Some silently, some angrily- some that I don’t understand, some that I pray I will never face.
At the lantern festival a couple weekends ago, a woman came up to me in the face paint line (right before my son had the creepiest clown painted on his face) and asked me to explain to her what “Charlie’s Corner” was all about. There were about twenty people in the line who were all intensely listening to every word I said. In my mind, Charlie’s Corner is all about bringing people together and finding happiness in sometimes the darkest places. An entire community rallied around a family when they were at their lowest. Strangers, friends, families… everyone was part of something bigger than themselves- there to lift up one another. To me, this is very much another “Thin Place” if you allow it to be. I am sure for others “Charlie’s Corner” may have a different meaning.
I hope for myself and for all of you (hopefully more than three readers) – to find peace and happiness!!! This was harder to write than you would probably think- and is really more therapeutic for me than anything else. I find therapy in writing the blog from time to time, others are out there running marathons, some are planting flowers, others may be quietly praying- to each of you, I love you!
There is so much that I wish I could do better, make better, heal, change- but I am just going to be happy in where I am today and always dream about that “Thin Place”.
Love, Aunt Brittany