Thursday, April 26, 2012

Stained Glass

by Barbara Parentini

“We have forgotten that the call to creativity is a call to worship.”
                                                                        --Scribbling in the Sand by Michael Card

Before I knew the meaning of the word creativity, I loved being creative. My strong creative desires found expression over the years through music, painting, writing, sewing my wedding dress, and creating a card line. Creativity at its finest manifests something of beauty that calls for response.

Recently, creativity showed up in a thrilling way. For the last few months, the word glass seemed to nudge my attention. I encountered people with this last name; incorporated glass tile into a kitchen design; and awakened one morning to the words, Sea Glass, a perfect title for my gift book about the sea. But the whispers about glass didn’t stop there.

Last month as I pulled my umbrella from the closet, I had one eye on the weather report before I dashed out the door. I’d looked forward to the North Carolina Poetry Society meeting for months, and refused to allow predictions of severe thunderstorms to change my plans. Listening to poets in the gracious Weymouth Center and enjoying spring gardens overshadowed my concern.

About thirty minutes down the road, gray skies unleashed torrential rains. Doubts menaced that I’d taken a wrong turn. Though I reviewed my directions, nothing made sense in the blinding rain. The rural landscape rippled behind a Niagara of water. I was lost. I lifted a prayer. Peering through my passenger window, I inched past a small store. A rusty, vintage sign near the road said “Stained Glass.” I shook my head. There was that word again

I called my husband—he’d discouraged me from making the trip, knowing I’m directionally challenged. I tried to sound calm as thunder rumbled, and fingers of lightning shot across the dark sky. After he helped me get my bearings, he warned I should turn around at the next road and return home. My heart sank as hopes of attending the event faded. I navigated the turn through gusty winds and rain, and headed back.

The next day at church, I slipped into a back pew by the last window, and settled into the service. I scrawled words across my bulletin as sunlight illuminated the tall, arched windowpanes, reminding me of God’s presence. I’d witnessed sunlight cast a golden glow over the sanctuary many Sundays, but this time was different. A river of gold descended along the arch to the windowsill, and when I glanced back at my notes, my hands were bathed in red light. Awestruck, I stared at my hands.

My eyes followed the sunbeam. Way up high in the window, a pane pulsated ruby-red. Light shining through stained glass showered a blessing on the work of my hands, like a creative anointing.

Writers create with words to bring something new into existence. Find your sanctuary, a sacred space to create. Honor quiet time to go deep. Notice beauty in the ordinary. Write about life’s storms, its joys and sorrow, and write about being lost. Write words to create a garden of beauty and hope in the world. Be true to your heart. Your words are your legacy.
When we treat our creative gifts as worship, grace fuses the shards of broken dreams into a masterful mosaic. Our words. His Light. Stained glass.

Barbara Parentini, author, speaker, and registered nurse who has been retired since her life-changing accident in 2003, is a contributor to numerous books; including Life Lessons from Dads, to be released June 2012, by Write Integrity Press. She’s written a tender gift book, Love and Everyday Wisdom for Brides, with companion journal in progress. Barbara created Living Letters® Seminars; and card line, Soaring Hearts, available soon at a national chain in Florida. 

Connect with Barbara at her website or on Facebook and Twitter.

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