Our wounds as thin places

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

Today is Halloween and Samhain and All Hallows Eve (the start of the Allhallowtide triduum that continues with All Saint’s Day tomorrow and All Soul’s Day on November 2).

While each of these holidays are celebrated differently in accordance with the beliefs and practices of the adherents who observe them, they all acknowledge in various ways a time where the veil between our regular, everyday world and the spiritual world thins and becomes more permeable.

In some traditions, this thinning of the veil inspires fear and requires propitiation of dangerous spirits who wish to do us harm.

In other traditions, this thinning of the veil allows for closer contact with our beloved (and benevolent) dead and other beneficial spirits who might offer guidance or wisdom.

The broken places in my life (and the wounds that result from those broken places) have often functioned as a similar thinning of the veil.

On the one hand, my wounds allow the ghosts of past wounds greater access to my daily reality. These specters of old brokenness come wailing back into my present to remind me of old traumas, betrayals, heartaches, and losses.

With them come the renewed flares of all my old bone-deep fears of abandonment and rejection and fundamental lack of safety in this world to haunt my current heartache with all of the weight and angst of old wounds piled on top.

As if that weren’t enough, these old hauntings also set loose all of my old unhelpful and self-destructive patterns like zombies risen from their graves to rip havoc in my present reality, even when I thought I’d long since laid those old patterns to rest.

No matter how well I think I’ve dealt with old wounds, no matter how much healing has taken place, no matter how much time has passed, fresh wounds from new broken places always find ghostly echoes of these old wounds to draw forth to haunt me and complicate my present healing.

Fortunately, that’s not the only way my wounds thin the veil. My wounds also tend to drive me toward closer connection to the Divine.

I find myself addressing the Divine more often in times of woundedness—sometimes begging for help, sometimes raging in anger at the unfairness of the world, sometimes reaching for comfort. When all else seems to have fallen away or fallen short and even my own ability to cope is wearing away to nothing, it forces me back to facing the Divine directly in a way that is all too often crowded out in a busy world.

Likewise, I find myself more open to healing wisdom, growth, and comfort from those around me, including those dear to me and those sages and saints who may offer wisdom and inspiration only through their words across time and space.

In that sense, my wounds often function as thin places—a term from Celtic Christianity that describes places where the veil thins between earth and heaven.

The interesting thing is that I have no control over the “trick” side of the thinning of the veil created by my wounds—whatever old ghosts and fears and zombie patterns arise do so without any control on my part—the “treat” side of the thinning of the veil in turning it into a thin place is one that is strongly driven by my choice and intention.

I have to open myself to those thin places in order to gain any benefit from their existence.

When I do open to those thin spaces, I find greater strength and courage to face the ghosts and fears and zombie patterns from the “trick” side of the veil to see through their hauntings and to keep returning them to the grave of the past where they belong so that I can face the challenges of today’s wounds unencumbered.

Seeing my wounds as thin places (in both the “trick” and “treat” aspects) has given me greater dexterity in dealing with them over time.

Recognizing the emergence of old ghosts and zombie patterns as just hauntings from the past frees me from getting too caught up in them, and remembering that I can choose to pursue greater connection to the Divine in the midst of my woundedness opens the door wider to healing.

What do you do with the thin places your wounds create?

How do you deal with the ghosts of old wounds when they arise? How do you address any old zombie patterns that emerge with them?

In what ways do you use the thin places of your wounds as openings for greater connection to the Divine or to growth and healing?

How does seeing your wounds as thin places change the way you might respond to future wounds?

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2 thoughts on “Our wounds as thin places

  • October 31, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Thank you for these insights. Perhaps our woundedness allows us to more closely “see” the woundedness of God thru the veil. “Then I too shall be home”.

    • October 31, 2018 at 11:07 am

      What a wonderful way to think of this, Jim! I agree. Recognizing that God shares in my woundedness (as I also share in God’s) is a source of comfort for me when I often feel so isolated and alone in my suffering otherwise. Thank you so making this point!

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