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.

This post was originally published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Judy from Pennsylvania

    Love this photo and your thoughts about it! I too am fascinated by stained glass windows, beautiful paperweights and art glass. Your quote from Dr, Kubler-Ross brings a whole new dimension to the subject of beauty and light. Thank you for giving me something special to share with others in a meditation group this week 🙂.

    • Judy, you’re welcome! I’m so honored that you would want to share any of these ideas with others. BTW the pachysandra are doing very well. The ferns seem a bit stressed with the heat (some browning of the leaves) but otherwise seem healthy. I’ve so enjoyed your botanical gifts this year!

      • Judy from Pennsylvania

        I’ve learned that those ferns are a variety that’s really susceptible to dry or hot conditions. Several of ours died back before I discovered that the trees they were under had root systems that webbed all the way to the surface, robbing the ferns of moisture. I had to break off the browned fronds and water the bases thoroughly every day. Now they’re starting to grow baby fronds again. Pachysandra on the other hand seems to be made out of iron! BTW, the ivy that was in the flower arrangement is now absolutely loving it outside in a pot in the shade — thank you!

        • Thanks for the tip. I’ll try that same approach to mine. I did see a couple of places where there were baby fronds emerging. Tending the plants gives me something to do that is very therapeutic. Even when it’s hot and I don’t want to get outside, I always feel so much happier after working in the yard and garden! I’m glad your ivy has survived. Ivy is a tough plant and mine (at York) has gotten way out of control, which Jeff warned me would happen, but I love the way it looks and the way it stays green all the time. In the winter that’s a welcome sight.

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