The Light That Shines From Within

I have always loved stained glass windows. Since childhood while attending church, I would sit fixated on the stained glass windows in the sanctuary. It was something I had always wanted to learn but only recently was I finally able to acquire the skill of how to make them. I only took four classes but I was consumed by it, loving the creativeness . . . until the death of my only child, Ryan.

After that, my artistic interest waned. I was lost in deep mourning and all attention to that wonderful pastime disappeared. Instead of spending hours in my shop designing and making glass panels; I spent hours in the darkness of grief. I thought I would never feel that creativity within me again.

After eight months I told myself it was time to start thinking about doing a glass project. As I looked at the shards of glass that had been left scattered on my work table; I began to see that my life was much the same as those random fragments. A life shattered by tragedy. Each piece of glass represented a part of my journey.  The vibrant reds, greens and yellows expressed a happier time; while the deep blues, browns and blacks were representative of where I was right then: in mourning for my son.

When making a glass panel, I solder each segment of glass together to give it strength and form a complete scene or design. A life splintered by tragedy can be put back together and set on a path that will lead us out of our mourning. And like a glass window, it allows us to see through our grief to a place of promise and hope. My faith in God has been my connective "solder". I have found my strength in Him and it has allowed me to find a way out of my grief . . . through my hobby.

I have been told that I have a gift from God, but I cannot totally agree. My hobby is taught and anyone can learn how to do it. But, the light that shines from within me and gives me the desire to create something of beauty, now thatis a true gift from God.

Just as you cannot fully appreciate a stained glass panel until you hold it up to light, I did not completely understand how my faith in God would shine from within me and show me a way out of my darkness. In a greater sense, He is helping me discover that my light should be a beacon for others. To equip me with empathy and understanding so that someday when given the opportunity I might be able to help others through their suffering and help them to find the light that shines from within.

Debbie Michuck’s family has established a website in memory of her son, Ryan, a wildfire fighter. Debbie describes the site as “their family's journey through this grief process and how we are trying to inspire others.” 


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