"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

22 January 2006

Prisms of Love

My mother-in-law is an artist. We are privileged to have two of her paintings in our home, and we always look forward to seeing her new projects and techniques when we visit.

Her home is of course tastefully furnished and decorated, nothing elaborately "arty" but now and then a touch of beauty so rich it takes one's breath.

When we arrived the Monday morning before Christmas, racing ahead of sleet and snow, the day sagged about us, grey and drizzly. Bringing dishes to the sink after lunch, I noted the several multi-colored, multi-shaped peices of glass hanging in the kitchen window that had been there since I could remember. Pretty, I thought, and didn't notice them again.

Wednesday dawned bright, the ordinary sun dazzling after nearly a week's hiding behind the wintry grey. At some point, I started from the den towards the laundry room -- and was arrested by vivid rainbows reflected on the white walls, a brilliance that abruptly stilled my teeming mind. After catching my breath, I turned my eyes to find their origin -- the glass baubles in the window, of course.

A few minutes later, my high school science catching up with me, I realized the flat colored glass pieces couldn't have created those rainbows. Approaching the window again, for the first time ever I saw the two small, clear glass pieces among them: a ball and a teardrop, each with dozens of facets cut into the surface, joyfully refracting the sunlight into radiant beauty.

Simple -- yet with depth, richness, brilliance, like the love of the woman who, with her instinct for beauty, hung the glass in that perfect place to provide moments of sudden delight. And yet the source of that delight is constant, always available, its heart never changing, never less rich, always deeply beautiful.

Thank you for loving us, Mom, and teaching us so much of what love is. We thank God for you.


Megan said...

Lovely. That reminds me to thank a few people who've hung prisms of love in my life.

You encourage me.

alaiyo said...

Thanks, Megan. I have too often waited too long to thank people for "being" . . . it's so easy to take others for granted, even those we truly and deeply love.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Isn't it great to realize that God's love is much like the beauty of those prisms - always there, but when we finally see it, it takes our breath away. Thanks for reminding me to take pleasure in those moments!


alaiyo said...

Hi, Lindsey! Good to hear from you. Yes, God's love is always pouring over us, but we don't always see it in brilliant prisms, often just in the small sparkling on a grey day.



sarah said...

Mom, i have taken delight in those very rainbows scattered across her white walls, that's why i have my own crystals hanging in my kitchen. To see the kids dance in the rainbows always reminds me of her...

alaiyo said...

Oh, Sarah, you should tell her this!

Love you, sweetheart!