I love stained glass. I love the artistry, the history embedded in small fragments we piece together, and how it calls us into prayer. But when I walked into a church recently, I felt a sadness as I read all the names etched in memoriam, remembering those who could afford such beauty or the better known saints.
I started recounting all the sisters of the community of Thistle Farms who have died as saints and survivors of some of the oldest pain the world inflicts on young women. If I could create a stained glass, I would make a field of wildflowers with thistles and healing plants. There would be sunlight pouring down, and I would piece together all the names I could recall.
I would write Jane Doe for the women buried out at the city cemetery. I would place the stained glass above the altar in the sanctuary as a reminder of how we break God's heart when we abuse each other and how there is beauty and love in brokenness.