Thin Space – A Reflection by Paula Mitchell

by Christine Sine
earth touches heaven

Earth touches heaver - photo by Coe Hutchison

This morning’s post in the series Easter is Coming: What Do We Hunger and Thirst For? was written by Paula Mitchell. Paula is a Spiritual Director, retreat facilitator, writer, wife, and mother of four grown sons.  She is the founder and program director of Doorways Ministries, providing days of prayer, Ignatian retreats, and a 9 month program based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius as ways of deepening our lives with Christ. She is also the city coordinator for the Ignatian Spirituality Project, a Jesuit organization dedicated to offering spiritual retreats inspired by Ignatian Spirituality to people experiencing homelessness. Paula brings to Doorways her own desire for deeper intimacy with Jesus, a love of prayer, and a heart to share with others the freedom and joy found in following Jesus.


Thin Spaces

Heaven touches earth

the veil separating God and us

shimmers and for a moment in time-

we find ourselves

standing in God’s presence

holy ground-

Where like Moses we stop, look,

take off our shoes.

God breaks through our hard packed soil,

shattering our well-defended walls

touches our heart with his love and grace

thin space, holy ground.

Jesus, love of God embodied

for thirty-three years

God’s light shining

in the darkness


of our world bringing

Life, Light, Love

Freely giving tender mercy, loving kindness, forgiveness, grace

God who so loves the world

so loves us-

he gave us his only begotten son

whosoever believes in him will not perish

in the deep darkness

but be given life eternal.

The Saints, too, each a thin space unique in their own way

holy ground, fertile soil, pounded thin

by circumstance, pain, suffering

compassion birthed in the soft soil of holy lives given to God.

They prayed that the life of Christ might take root, grow, and produce fruit-

holy ground, fertile ground, given to God

heaven touching earth–thin space

fully alive for the glory of God

Creation, too, a sacrament of God’s presence

where heaven breaks earth open

glimmers of God’s beauty

mountains, oceans, sky,

magnificent, radiant, translucent

reflecting heaven

thin spaces

holy ground

if only we have eyes to see.

Mary, too, a thin space

Where the life of Christ took root and grew.

She, too, holy ground, humble soil, a thin space

Bearing Christ in the rich soil of

humiliation and suffering

yet with great joy and gladness

for unto to us a child is born,

a son given, you shall call his name Jesus.

Not an easy path, full of suffering,

her heart broken by the darkness.

But God promises that the darkness can never, ever extinguish the light

Her yes makes me want to take off my shoes

her life a thin space

holy ground

radiant with his light.

Paul learned

he is made perfect not in his strength

but in his weakness.

Thin enough to be broken

Thin enough for the life of Jesus

to break through

reminding us all

it is no longer we who live but the life we now live is Christ’s own life

mysterious, embodied, thin space

Christ in me the hope of glory

not my glory


What about you?

Do you hunger and thirst for thin spaces?

People who let the light of Christ radiate in them

Light bearers

Christ bearers

Those who carry the death of Christ in their bodies

so they may carry the life of Christ into the world.

Into your world

that you might know his presence in and with you.

Those who bear his wounds, who share his heart,

who bring compassion and peace

To the chaos of our times

To the chaos of our lives

Thin spaces

Holy ground

Sometimes I wonder,

Can I be a thin space?

It’s what I want-

what I hunger and thirst for-

what I’m afraid of-

To become so thin


That the life of Christ

shines through me

radiates from me, is embodied in me

whether I know it or not.

So I no longer live but the life I live in my body is the life

of Christ  living in me

Thin space

Holy ground

For the light shines in the darkness

And the darkness can never ever put it out…

–Paula Mitchell

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Andy Wade April 2, 2012 - 8:39 am

Wow! Powerful, moving, challenging.

Jeri Bidinger April 3, 2012 - 9:53 am

This piece resonates deep with me. Especially:

“Sometimes I wonder,
Can I be a thin space?
It’s what I want-
what I hunger and thirst for-
what I’m afraid of-
To become so thin
That the life of Christ
shines through me
radiates from me, is embodied in me
whether I know it or not.”

Yes, I know that fear mixed in with the hunger, for the shekinah glory blazes so bright that I wonder if it will utterly consume me. I shy away, want to hide me eyes. But then peep through my fingers, so drawn.

Thank you for giving this truth such lovely words.


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