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Natural Awakenings Columbia

Life Lessons from Stained Glass

Feb 09, 2020 01:41PM ● By Annette Briggs

Greetings readers and Happy February! You know … I love doing stained glass as a hobby. It is such a fun and fulfilling activity that helps to regenerate my soul, recharge my spiritual “batteries,” while allowing me to be creative with my hands, which is a must on my list. Stained glass mosaic creations are absolutely beautiful, and many times, simply stunning, as they exquisitely reflect countless hours of painstaking and precise work, as the artist (with great care and thoughtfulness) fuses a myriad of different glass pieces together to create an often amazing, even priceless, handmade work of art.

In many cases, it takes thousands upon thousands of glass pieces representing vastly different shapes, sizes, textures and colors. You can find stained glass mosaics all around the world in some of the most historically significant sites visited by millions of tourists each year. They can be truly awe-inspiring! And while every creation is different, there are some very important “common denominator” characteristics shared by all. With every stained-glass mosaic, each piece of glass is significant and plays a crucial role in the final creation and inherent beauty. No piece is better than another, and if one is missing, the work of art is noticeably not complete. In fact, a missing piece actually reduces the value of the entire work as a whole. All of the individual pieces of glass, small and large, light and dark, smooth and rough, draw their equitable value as a whole—not individually. Each piece is carefully and deliberately chosen by the creator for the specific vision that he or she has in mind. There are no accidental pieces—all are picked for an important purpose known only by the one creating it!

And you know what? This is the perfect metaphorical picture of diversity done right, and the very definition of “love.” With stained glass mosaics, the differences reflect collective beauty, as the one gazing with appreciation sees its value as a whole. Diversity lifts up unity. It should not bring division and invite ugliness and mistreatment. The various shapes, sizes and colors add value and meaning. It’s unfortunate that we find ourselves living in a world where (more and more each day) being different (no matter what that looks like) may bring about isolation, prejudice and even aggression.

I think that we need to draw a wealth of wisdom from one of my favorite hobbies—the art of making stained glass. It is not an easy task by any means. It takes hard work and focused effort, and requires patience and understanding. The vision must drive you to finish its creation, understanding that every piece must be inserted with great care so as not to lose any one of them. They are all VERY important. And so are you and I. Consider the words of American writer Jacqueline Woodson: “Diversity is about all of us, and about us having to figure out how to walk through this world together.” This is true oneness … this is true love!

An important piece,

Annette Briggs

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