On a Sunday afternoon twenty years ago, I walked through the door of the Farmhouse at Whitestone Country Inn. My life was in pieces, and I wasn’t sure why I was there. I had heard someone describe Whitestone at church that morning, and felt an overwhelming compulsion to drive until I found it. I parked outside the Farmhouse, and went to the door. The moment my foot crossed the threshold, I felt as though I had entered a portal from turmoil into peace. That afternoon I met Paul and began the journey to healing, a healing that began with that first unexplainable sense of peace.
As many as a thousand people of all religious beliefs have reported having experiences at Whitestone that seemed somehow to make the spiritual tangible… unforeseen moments of peace, joy, and spiritual connectedness. Even those with no religious affiliation have commented that at times they encountered a tranquility they had not expected. One reason for this may lie in Whitestone’s history. Over thirty-five years ago, a pastor took his son fishing on the property that is now Whitestone. At the time, the acreage was still untamed field and forest. This man felt God speak to him that day and tell him that this land would someday be God’s, used to bring Him glory. Many years later, when Paul bought the property, the same man came to Paul and told him that he had been walking this land while praying over it for sixteen years, claiming it for God. It seems possible that through this man and others persistently lifting the land up, it may have absorbed a little bit of heaven.
There is a Celtic saying that heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but there exist “thin places” where that distance is even smaller… places where the curtain that separates heaven and earth is drawn back.
Poet Sharlande Sledge describes a thin place as one:
‘Where the door between the world
And the next is cracked open for a moment
And the light is not all on the other side…’
If you need to find a sanctuary for your soul, a visit to Whitestone could let some light from other realities filter through and give you a peace that transcends our normal senses. Moments overlooking the lake at night, walks along the wooded trails, or waking to a Whitestone sunrise may offer that peek through ‘the crack in the door’. If the Celtics could have wandered onto Whitestone’s expanse, no doubt they would have sensed that they had discovered a “thin place”.
All that is necessary to experience it is a spirit of openness in a place where beauty and silence meet.
By: Valerie Bryant Bennett