Stained Glass - A window with a reason

Stained glass windows

The term stained glass has many meanings and styles.  Sometimes it is clear glass with the same shaped pieces soldered in a pattern.  Some are colored pieces and in a random form.  Some pieces are textured and some are beveled.  Pretty for the placement or a picture like a church window. Large and complicated or petite and covering a night lite in a bedroom.  At times the glass cutter goes straight, and at times it goes astray.  Some cutters have oil in them to make the wheel roll easily, and some cuts are dry.  There is always the grinder though, to smooth the edges and straighten the lines.  But only by removals, never by adding to, the window has no way to add to a piece, only to add another piece.  With creativity and a bit of experience it can be made to look planned, and only the creator knows if that is so.  Shaped into a lampshade or simply a framed break of continuity for a real window these pieces are only limited by the creativity of the maker and the placement of the one to whom it belongs.

The window to the soul is through the eyes, as the poets say.  The question then is to look into them and to know what you see.  The eye is also the filter that sees the world from the inside.  You can see every emotion in the eyes.  You have the "smiling eyes", the stink eye, the fear of being caught and the fear of death. Kenny Rogers sang, “I can see you’re out of Aces”, like it was written on your face. The thousand-mile stare of the lost, the weary fatigue of the single mom, the disillusioned and the despondent, and so many more.  They really are the window to the soul.  Both, an access that will reveal what is inside that you are looking through, and also as a trained tool that delves deeply to the point of the pain.

What then of the two.  The window to the soul is of the style that is like the stained glass creation of a life lived and experienced.  They are a parallel, then.  The complicated and the simple.  Monochrome and clear, or with the classic designs of beveled shapes of thick glass, or the fractured and random placements of the spectrum of colors.  Fragile or strong, complicated or plain, each one is alone in its telling of the story of the life within.  The indications of pain in the pane, or of none... Some that tell a story with the placement of the pieces and the colors that show a well planned and structured existence. Some that tell the story of the chaos of the way it is put into form and pattern and color. Well planned or simply the next piece placed, the result is a glass tapestry that is the tale of the journey taken, the pain and the pleasures of that journey and the realization that history is real and this is simply the story of it.

I would then add the following to complicate and simplify at the same time.  The tales of the power and might of God in the stories of the Bible reveal that He cannot be looked upon without the person dying.  So too, He cannot look upon sin. Yet the notion that He loves his creation, US, is confounded by this juxtaposition.  That we are sinners, and yet looked upon with the love of the father.  That we as sinners can look to the Father and know his love.  Here then is the addition.  That Paul writes that we are “looking through a glass darkly”.  Now you know where I am going. 

This glass, that Paul writes of, which allows God to look on us not as sinners but as redeemed is stained.  That which also allows us to look upon the Father and see but a portion of his glory is the very thing that Paul alludes to.  That stained glass window of the life of Christ, the mediator of our redemption.  That piecing together the story of his life, from the beginning of time to the end, is every piece laid and welded into place with the bond of love.  That the broken and colored, the straight and the shards, all combine to form the tapestry which is the greatest story told in a window pane.  It is this window that keeps the harsh wind of judgment out.  It keeps the cold isolation of the chilled heart at bay.  It is that which we are to “become more like Christ” in the ways we look at others.  The broken and the well put together.  The colors and the clear, the bevels and the textures, the pieces both large and the small.  All the while the “window which is the story of our life”, our personal pane of glass, is coming together piece by piece. 

There is a need to take a few minutes from time to time, to tell others of our story.  To share the future pieces that we are shaping with the cutters and the grinding wheel that will become the next ones welded into the story.  The ones that have a place, but not yet a form.  Some we think on and hope for.  Then there are those we cannot know and some we dread, but come they will.  To each of us in the course of time, and in a cadence we cannot control.  The pleasure and the pain. The story behind the story.  The story of the making, as well as the finished piece.  It is worth the time to tell your story, and it is worth the time to listen.  To hang the finished piece in a place that we can see.  As a reminder of a life well lived.  A friend, a mentor, a hero of your story.  Placed in a prominent window that lets light shine through and is seen by others, or the night light in the hall that keeps you from stumbling in the dark, but reminds you of that time the friend kept you from stumbling in the dark. The term is Mnemonic. A reminder. Simple, clean, clear and always.  In mountain climbing it could be a piton.  That last secure place that keeps you from falling.  Secured back to that thing that is solid.  The picture isn’t complicated but the story it tells could be.  If you will tell it. 

Serendipity and structure.  The pieces of glass that are in storage and the ones that are yet needed.  The idea of being textured by sandblasting and the odd patterns of the one etched by acid.  Planned in some and curiously random in others.  It is odd how simply turning the glass and the placement is a better fit, when the pattern tells the story more poignantly.  The story of progress in your talent to deal with the vagaries of the life you live.  The rough joints you made in your early attempts and how, over time and trials, the glass fit better and shows that bit of progress that you have made.  The things you are now willing to try and the ones that you are reluctant to attempt.  The help you are to others, as you lend your experience to those ready to listen.  The patience when they are not willing to listen.  The time it takes to complete.  The hurry you have in your work, because you are anxious.  It all shows.  It is there to see in others, as well.  We are all building a window.  Not yet complete. There is still hope.  There is a current story told, and one still being created.  Keep creating. It is your task, called life.


  1. Hi, Brent! I love this piece! It speaks to my soul, heart, and being. I love the way you are able to articulate so eloquently! I'll be back to read more!
    Thank you,
    Deb :)


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