A light from within

Detail of a stained glass window in Cologne Cathedral, Germany, April 2007

Detail of a stained glass window in Cologne Cathedral, Germany, April 2007

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

I love stained glass, from tiny sun-catchers hanging in kitchen windows, to magnificent soaring panels in cathedrals.   Whenever I see these works of art I have the impulse to capture their colors in photos.  If time allows, I like to study the intricate details and imagine the stories they tell.  But even the briefest glance is stunning when the light is shining through.

Kübler-Ross makes an interesting analogy to the inner beauty that doesn’t become evident until revealed by extraordinary circumstances.  Almost anyone can be fun, appealing and attractive when all is sunny and bright.  But when things go wrong, there are some people who continue to shine despite the gloom.

Such people are champions of fighting despair, refusing to let outside darkness extinguish the hope and joy they carry inside.   When we feel overwhelmed by sadness or defeated by adversity, we need the radiant examples of those who stand with us in times of trial, reminding us that even in the darkness, the light of faith, hope and love cannot be overpowered.

I hope you have many such people in your life, and I trust that you can and will be a source of light for others.


  1. that is a beautiful quote, amiga. yes, we should try to keep that light within and let it shine.

    i hope that all is going well.


    • Hi Lisa, I was just thinking of you this morning and thinking how I needed to get an update out to everyone. The short version is that we’ve had ups and downs, but are doing OK. Hope all is well in your world. Thanks for being here! I’m so happy you like the post.

      • Even if I am not online, I am thinking of you, oh lovely one! Thanks so much for the update. Z

        • Thanks Lisa, same here! 🙂

  2. What a lovely post! I love the quote and photo as well! ♥

    • Thank you, I appreciate your kind words AND your visits with us here!

  3. Mike Bertoglio

    Like in Seattle when the gray days drag on you have to make your own inner weather. Your own inside Hawaii. Which gives me an idea for my restaurant. It also goes to show what real resources one has. Anyone can get along when the sun is shining but when something comes along like a setback or illness then you find out what is really powering the engine. And for some it’s like a house of cards that comes tumbling down and it makes you reconsider your life. That happened to me also.
    On another note, I went to Costco and got some Kirkland brand natural peanut butter. Not sure I like it-missing the sugar. It is in the darkness you find out what is really the undergirding or lack thereof.

    • Mike, I agree; it’s so important to carry a beautiful climate within ourselves wherever we are. Sometimes we really need that “wake-up call” to help us get our spirits on the right track. Do you have a restaurant? I didn’t realize that. Hang in there with the natural peanut butter. When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2010, I had to completely re-train my taste buds because I had a real sweet tooth. It’s amazing how much sugar is added to everything we eat. I gradually trained myself to eat less sugar by mixing things at first. For example, I would mix sweeter cereals (such as Raisin Bran or Special K) with sugar-free cereals, and to this day I mix flavored Greek yogurt with plain nonfat yogurt. I started out with a 1:1 ratio but now I’m happy with 2:1 plain/flavored. I drink club soda with just a bit of fruit juice added, rather than plain fruit juice. Again, I started at about a 1:1 ratio and cut back from there. I’ve learned to like tea without sweetener, though I still prefer sweetened. So much is a matter of what we get accustomed to. I used to eat peanut butter with sugar years ago, but once I got used to the peanut taste of non-sweetened peanut butter, I never wanted to go back. I hope you will have a similar experience! You might want to try going to a store such as Whole Foods, where you can actually grind up the peanuts yourself. If you like peanuts, it might seem tastier if you actually see and smell it being ground up.

  4. I love that cathedral. It was one of my favorite places to go in Germany and I never got there enough. I hope you have lots of shining lights my friend. I will think of you and Jeff as one for Stephen and I always. Love ya.

  5. merry

    Julia…I’m fond of stain glass windows too. In fact have one in my living room window.:}

    • I’ve never had any stained glass in my home, but that’s something I’ve often said I’d like to have “someday” – maybe I should just get a nice hanging piece like the one I featured in this post.

  6. Sheila

    Julia, you and your words were such a light to me in the days after Salty left us. I found so much strength, that I realize now that when my own inner light and being was somewhat dimmed, “Defeat Despair” was a blessing. I thank you so much….. Sheila

    • Thanks Sheila, that is so kind of you to say. If anything I wrote helped anyone, that makes me very happy. Losing Pasha has been easier because of the sympathy and help of others who have been in our place not so long ago, and remember what it is like. So my thanks to all of you as well.


  1. More enjoyable | Defeat Despair

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