All Hallow’s Eve is a time to allow our imagination to soar beyond the rational and logical and embrace the idea that those who passed before us, may still share the world with us. “A thin place” is a Celtic term to describe particular places and times where the line between the visible and invisible world is “thin.” Those places of divine beauty and wonder. Those moments of divine inspiration. The days that mark a holy feast or the birthday of a dearly beloved. Times and places that are set aside for holy remembrance.
All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween) is one of those nights when our imagination can open the doors and barriers that separate the visible and invisible world to welcome back those that have been separated from us by death. It is a night to believe the words of Christian Mystic, Meister Eckhart, when asked, “Where do the dead go?” he answered, “No Where.” In other words, they remain with us in the land of the living.
There are days when the memories of departed friends, family members, and parishioners are so vivid I am drawn into a conversation with them. I hear their voice, I recall their influence and personality, I relive a past memory with them, and I realize, if only for a moment, they are not gone or dead at all, they share this life of both visible and invisible wonders and realities.
As a priest, I am in the business of both life and death. In my decades of being bedside with the dying and presiding at funerals, I have come to my own observation that dying has a finite season and death only has two days. On the other hand, life, is eternal. Life always swallows up death. It is the lives of the dearly departed that remain in our hearts and memories, not their death.
So let Halloween be hallow, in your life. Let the day be filled with the presence of recent and long lost loved ones, and perhaps reacquaint yourself to the idea that in many ways their life continues with you. Allow your imagination to create a different reality than your eyes can see and your hands can touch. For as Jesus said to Thomas, “Blessed are those who believe without ever needing to see or touch.”