The above is mere prelude to my recent "thin place" experience at the Roosevelt Memorial. Celtic spirituality speaks of "thin places;" these are physical locations or spiritual spots where the world of The Spirit; and our everyday world is so close together, so tight, that through this thinness you experience "the More." That is what happened to me at the Roosevelt Memorial.
It is Washington,
D.C.'s newest and most expansive memorial. Situated between the Tidal
Basin and the Potomac River, it is divided into four large outdoor galleries
or rooms, one for each term of this 32nd U.S. President (1933-1945). Each
room conveys the spirit of this great national and international leader.
They are shaped and defined by huge walls of red granite. Etched on the
walls, in large print, are some of the enduring quotations from this President
who led America out of a devastating depression and through our most terrible
World War. Quotes like: "The only thing we have to fear is fear
itself . . . we must choose the path of Social Justice, The Path of Hope,
The Path of Love toward our fellow man . . . The test of Progress is not
whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether
we provide enough for those who have too little . . . Freedom of Speech.
Freedom of Worship. Freedom from Want. Freedom from Fear." On
rolled the lines from this visionary leader. On went the inspirations
from this mid-century American prophet who spoke to my soul like a Jeremiah
or a Jesus. Carolyn and I (and others) were reduced to whispers of awe.
It seemed to me as though the Word of the Holy One was using Roosevelt's
words to speak again to humanity at the edge of a millennium. It was a
thin place. And I was changed again.
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