Stained Glass Windows

It has been a long week. The days have slipped by, and some days, I’ve been pushed to the edge of overwhelm. My saving grace has been that I ungracefully vomited some of my story last week at a recovery meeting. Tears and all. Falling apart in a way I never do. That moment gave me the courage to seek support when, on 9/11, I started feeling the cracks in my soul. I came away mostly unscathed. The remembrance of national disasters (and I most certainly remember 9/11/2001) isn’t the easiest thing for me to experience as a trauma survivor.

But, I am here.

Today, I am feeling something like acceptance. A quiet knowing that grief, sadness, and pain are a part of life. This little thing we live in, that we dip our toe-sies into every day, that makes us tilt our heads back in laughter or bow them forward in agony, is at once broken, yet stunning.

I keep hearing stories of pain. I am at a loss to understand why some of these heart-wrenching realities are placed in our paths. Sometimes I doubt why they have been placed in my path. A mentally ill (probably narcissistic) father, an isolated, support-less childhood and adolescence, witnessing of the shooting of my twin and younger sister, and then a sad divorce. And those are only the big, big things. That doesn’t include my Azerbaijani student who died in a shooting, or the death of my Grandpa when I was 15. My world was an earthquake! And others’ worlds have earthquakes on a regular basis. I keep seeing it. I keep encountering it, in the dear faces of people I see at least once a week. It grieves me. All of it grieves me. Sickness, death, overdose. Agony, all of it.

Yet this morning, I came again to my recovery meeting. I listened as tangled words of suffering spilled out of the mouths of people I care about. A little thought snuck up on me.

“It’s broken glass that makes stained glass windows.”

Life is jagged. Triangles and sharp stabbing corners. Maybe, though, they all fit together somehow. If we let all the pieces be gathered up by some kind of Higher Power, they get rearranged and set into a mosaic. And through the mosaic, we get the most beautiful, dappled light. Light that flows through those colored panes and makes something of our lives that couldn’t possibly exist otherwise. Our experiences color everything – including these windows. But the pieces have to be broken, first.

And maybe that’s why I fell apart last week. Maybe that’s why we all need to fall apart sometimes.

So, my heart will ache. With you, for you. For me, too. For all of us as we fall apart. Somehow, the pieces we’ve been splayed into will rearrange and become something infinitely lovely, despite the brokenness. That’s what I’m putting my faith in.

One Reply to “Stained Glass Windows”

  1. That was amazingly beautiful. “It’s broken glass that makes stained glass windows” – I needed to hear those words today. What an insightful that snuck up on you. You are a delight Laurie. So glad we met!

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