Thin Places in Haiti

We had a great time at the ballpark the other day: Tigers v. White Sox in a pennant race game. Justin Verlander pitched against what’s his name, Chicago’s best. We got to the park a good hour early so we could watch watch the teams warm up.

Verlander was first Tiger to emerge from the dugout for warm-ups and I had a great up-close spot to watch him go through his warm-up routine. He stretched out his shoulders, quads and hammies (no differently than you and I would do before going for a jog) after which he started playing catch, starting at maybe fifteen feet away and gradually backing up until he was playing catch from maybe 120 feet away from the catcher. The guy’s got an arm.

The game was exciting and the Tigers won, by what score… I forget. Enjoyed a hot dog and some nachos. We stayed till the last out. As did nearly every other fan in the park that night.  It was amazing to watch a sold out stadium of people NOT jam up the aisles in a hurry to get out to their cars.  No one wanted to leave, preferring that night, for that game, to stay a few minutes more and enjoy the moment. We’re in the chase, you see, and we had just pulled to within 1/2 game of first place.

There are many savorable moments in Haiti. “Thin places,” the Celts called them, when Heaven and Earth come so close to each other that you’re compelled to stop and take it in. It must have been a “thin place,” I think, when I met the old man in this picture. I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw him, and just allowed his countenance (and his shirt) minister to me. I couldn’t resist studying the definitions and shadows and deep wrinkles of his face. And his hands, large and arthritic. And in that fleeting, thin-place moment, life was large. I’ll not forget that man.