Stained Glass People

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(Stained glass in the National Museum of Art in Washington DC)

I love stained glass. I love how tiny pieces of color come together to make something larger, something intricate and vibrant. I love how dramatically different the art appears in different lighting. I love how detailed it can be – just pieces of colored glass glued together.

Everyone is shaped by their experiences in life. Every relationship, choice, unforeseen event, and cultural exposure changes us a little.
When I look at stained glass art, I am reminded of the human existence.

Each relationship we have – no matter how small, no matter how bold – contributes to our lives. These relationships guide us, shape us, change us.
Relationships are much like the individual pieces of glass in the complete stained glass artwork.

Over the weekend, S and I made another last-minute trip.
One of S’s uncles has been very sick for a couple of months. He was not given long to live. On Saturday night, we received a call that things had taken a turn, and S’s uncle’s health was declining even more rapidly.
On Sunday, we drove 5 hours to Kentucky (and 5 hours back, in the same day) to visit S’s uncle on his deathbed.

I was reminded strongly of the imagery of stained glass.
Each person in that room has claim to one little piece of S’s uncle’s life; they reminded him of their attachment to him.

I saw, instead, each person with their piece of stained glass, showing off its beauty, appreciating their portion.
Every section is colored with memories, as distinctly individual as each person who loves him.

When he moves on from this life, we will still have our little stained glass pieces. When he is remembered, we will fit our sections together and recall the beauty  of life – the beauty of his life.

We are all adding to our legacy, adding to our stained glass masterpieces.
It’s never too late to ask what picture we are making, and who holds our colored memories.

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