It’s late at night…and while I should be sleeping, I’ve been thinking. Thinking and watching Vintage Flip on HGTV because my brain doesn’t want to sleep…clearly.
As I often do, I learn something while I’m watching these shows and think that it’s totally something that I should do So, this couple is restoring a vintage home and finds a custom built in entertainment center- and it’s STUNNING. The problem is that there are doors where there SHOULD be glass, but the glass is broken out. So, they have some options. They can remove the doors completely, replace the glass with something else, or replace the glass. They try clear glass, but it’s not right. They try frosted glass, but that’s not quite right either. Because the house itself is unique and a bit quirky, the finishes have to be the same way. So, they decide upon stained glass- which was brilliant. So, the woman decides to make the stained glass herself and has to learn how to do it from a professional stained glass maker person. (I’m not entirely sure of what they’re actually called…) As I’m watching, I’m completely fascinated by the process.
Here’s a beginner’s guide:
1. You need to make a template of the design that YOU (the designer) want.
2. Pick the glass that you want to work with- colors, patterns, thickness.
3. Score the glass, using the template.
4. Cut or break the glass along the scored lines.
5. Grind the edges to smooth the glass.
6. Foil the pieces of glass. (so they’ll have separation between colors and stick together)
7. Add flux to the copper foiling. (this will help the adhesion.)
8. Solder the glass. (basically, applying heat and flux and solder to adhere everything together.)
9. Frame and enjoy your creation.
It sounds easy, but the soldering takes quite a bit of time and it’s incredibly delicate work, but it’s so worth it.
The thing that I LOVE LOVE LOVE about stained glass is the beautiful light that it gives. No two creations are ever the same and they each provide a beautiful art piece that light can shine through.
Isn’t that the best? A bunch of broken, cut glass- that is otherwise useless is put back together with the right elements and a little heat…and it’s the most stunning thing you’ll ever see.
Now, this post really isn’t to teach you about stained glass- and I think you know that.
Often times in our lives, and especially in the life of a woman who’s not your stereotypical LDS woman, we feel like we’re not good enough. We’re broken. Messy. Worthless. Useless. Hopeless. Unwanted. Shattered.
All the time.
I’ve been there. So many times.
Recently, I was speaking with a friend about some missionary work or primary or something- I don’t even remember and she congratulated me on a job well done. As I often do, I replied with a “it wasn’t me, it was the Savior. I’m just the window.”
(See where I’m going here?)
She firmly told me that I was a beautiful window…and it led to a discussion about stained glass.
My friends- when I think of my experiences in this life that have shattered my soul, destroyed my self worth, and left me feeling utterly, irreparably broken- I think of Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail. He had literally been through hell and back. Men tried to destroy him and his family and his name and his words and the gospel that he restored, and yet…he dug in his heels and stood firm. I think of what the Lord said to him in Doctrine and Covenants Section 122, verse 7. “And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”
Sisters. These experiences make us who we are and who we need to be. They teach us life lessons like compassion, kindness, empathy, patience, long suffering. They are FOR OUR GOOD. When we take these experiences and solder them together with the love and Atonement of our Savior, we BECOME what the Lord, the designer, wants us to be. We become that beautiful window. Without the breaking and the cutting and the soldering…we’re just a boring, old piece of glass. I’m not saying this makes them easier. It doesn’t. But I, for one, am grateful for my experience. I am grateful for the window to the Savior that I am becoming.
You, my dear friend, are our Master’s masterpiece.