Sparkle and shine….

People are like stained-glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.  ~Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

We visited the Methodists on Easter because they have the prettiest stained glass windows in town and they always seem  happy to see us even though we are not Methodist. A Methodist bishop donated the money to build Hamline University back when Minnesota was just a territory. Then, something even more amazing happened.  Women were permitted to attend this first university in the state where they excelled and shone and graduated. This proves that the Methodists had some stuff figured out pretty early when it came to being a welcoming bunch.

Two of us are Hamline graduates, but that’s not why we go. We go because the Methodists shake our hands and say “Welcome!” like they mean it.  A one hundred year old woman with a glorious halo of silver hair seated two rows ahead of me did just that this morning and the fact that she is over a hundred years old is not the really amazing part of this story. It is the fact that she is over a hundred years old and still sparkly as all get out.  As the sunlight shone through the stained glass windows, she beamed at me and I had what can only be described as a holy moment.  I seriously thought I heard angels. Her hair..her smile…the windows…the fact that the windows were about the only thing in the church older than the sparkly woman who was smiling at me…the whole shebang.  I decided then and there that I want to be her when I grow up.  One hundred years young and smiling like I’m the queen of the universe.

From the moment we’re born, we are each given 365 days a year.  Little girls  start out all sparkly, like diamonds. Then, something happens. Some stay sparkly and some start to get less sparkly.  I know a lot of women my age and even younger who are already less sparkly than the lady with the halo in church was this morning.  Sometimes, the sparkle comes back, though.  For example, I’ve just recently noticed that women are usually at their absolute sparkliest when they are holding a grandchild in their arms. They just are. And then, sometimes something else happens and the sparkle fades from good, strong women who fight battles I can’t even begin to fathom. They fight disappointments, demons, or diagnoses and rise from the rubble shiny and triumphant, flashing a V for Victory.

But back to the Methodists. Today I left their sanctuary feeling full. I think this should be the end goal of going to any church. It wasn’t just  the windows,the sermon, or even the fellowship that filled me up.  It was the older, but not old woman two rows ahead of me.  The really sparkly one.

Her first name starts with the letter V.

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