Many years ago I made small stained glass windows. The vibrancy of the material—its waves, ripples, and bubbles diffusing light—was a feast of color to the eyes.
In workshops I learned how a small scratch directionally drawn would allow the glass to break in desired ways. I was fascinated by this breaking apart almost more than the construction of the final windows. There was some sort of comfort in watching the separation take place—a knowing that from a larger, undefined unit of glass I would construct a mosaic of joy.
With the small wheeled etching tool I would guide the scratch on the colorful glass from edge to edge. Then, with the small metal ball on the opposite end of the tool, I would gently tap, tap, tap as the fracture snaked along the barely visible line until the desired piece would fall away.
Great care had to be taken handling the glass at the moment of the initial break. The edges of both pieces were razor sharp and could cause significant harm if you were not careful. If the glass were improperly fractured, slivers of glass would shatter and pierce one’s hands or arms.
One would then smooth the edges of the broken-off piece and assemble it with others in a specific pattern. All these separate pieces were forming a vibrant and new window that light would bring to life.
Many of us may experience a breaking or shattering at some time in our lives. A significant piece of who and what we are is cut away somehow and only the purest pieces, those desired for another purpose, remain.
There has been for me, and for other women of a certain age, a reassembling from intentionally fractured and broken pieces. Pieces separated from an unrefined mass, and the sharp dangerous edges skillfully smoothed and purposely arranged by the Master’s Hand.
For all of us, each broken piece will reveal its own beauty in the Light, within a final construction that reveals a radiant new whole.
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