Sunday, December 27, 2009


Still – quiet – serene – calm…..just the right place to be to escape the hustle-and-bustle of the city. I took a long sweeping look from the left to the right taking in the walls and the dome over my head. It literally took my breath away – stained-glass windows – its colors heightened by the glow of sunset. Built atop a mountain this cathedral stands proudly in its old world charm attracting visitors from as far as the outskirts of the city -- a handsome structure which has stood the passing of time and inside its walls nothing less in beauty. The main altar stretched out to the dome ceiling with a masterpiece of art etched on its stained-glass wall. My gaze followed the intricate lines from the floor to the top and down again. Here a little to the side stood a long-legged candle-holder - its flame glistening softly from a candle held by a glass holder (yes, in stained-glass too) - a small unobtrusive presence in the midst of such towering magnificence.

I was made speechless in the moment and in the presence of such exquisite beauty. Yet as all good things must come to an end, like coming to the end of a good show, a gentle curtain of extinguishing glow fell into the room. The sun was disappearing in the far horizon. Light was snuffed out in all of the glass walls in a falling curtain of darkness except for one solitary lighted candle holder. Surprised I gasped in awe amazed at the sight of the beautiful play of light and colors from a small stained-glass candle holder -- unremarkable just a few minutes ago but now a burst of brilliance unmatched by all the glass on the walls of the cathedral!

People – they come in different sizes, shapes, colors, temperaments, attitudes, in myriad colors of character and eccentricity, and personal histories. They touch our lives in many different ways when they cross paths with us. They sparkle and shine as life carries them through the many stations in their journey. Each come to interplay with various experiences which lead to a colorful display of emotions, wit, brilliance, expression, opinion, insight, belief, perception -- and on the opposite end bias, prejudice preconception, presumption, and more, These make up the whole person with whom we interconnect with day by day. Beautiful, isn’t it? But true beauty ---- where does it lie??

When fortunes turn sour, when failure looms high above you, when the small irritations of the day gnaw at your calm and composure, when relationships disappoint, when dreams shatter, when debts soar, when spouses betray trust, when your own stable world is unhinged at the seams without warning, and when you are there tittering on the edge of indecision – when all of these dark forces threaten to snuff out the light and brilliance of your day and of yourself, what do you do?

My mom summed it all up with how she lived her life. It was a life strewn with all conceivable trouble and distress. And looking back now I wonder just how God can sometimes be so unfair heaping up all the burdens on the shoulders of this small fragile gentle woman. Well, did she cry? Complain? Get mad? Get gloomy and depressed or bitter and resentful? Yes, all of that and yet everything too were left at His feet in prayer. Then she carried on with her life with what she had. She rose with every fall, trudged on doggedly with courage and strength and remarkable faith renewed each time, I wondered how. Through my child’s eyes I watched her drag her weary feet through the hills and valleys of a sparse life as she took on the role of raising a family. I saw her in my young child’s eye astoundingly as the most beautiful woman in the world. She still is even long after she has gone. But I see better now and understand the wisdom of God’s outstanding work.

This is true beauty – the beauty of the soul - beauty which shines even more brilliantly even when darkness sets in. True beauty as revealed only when its light is from within. Indeed.

“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 their light is from within.” ----- (Elizabeth Kubler Ross)


  1. Beautiful post and a lovely quote :) Its amazing how one can relate to so many things around us, it's just a matter of giving it a thought.
    May God bless you and your family with a beautiful year ahead :)Amen

  2. Merry Christmas, Sana.. to you and your loved ones!

    May God's bountiful blessings pour out upon you and your home -- making all your dreams come true not only for yourself but for the people that you love. With these blessings, remember our magnificent God and His great love for us all. Live your life with these blessings .. and serve God by being a blessing to others too.

    And a prosperous and blessed New Year to you! :-)

  3. Ellen,

    Very moving account of your mother's courage. May her tribe increase. It is the inner self which is shows the way.

    Take care

  4. Hi Jack,

    Yeah, she sure is. But aren't all mothers? :-) They are God's gift to us.

    Thanks, Jack, A Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

  5. A good friend wants me to move these to here, as a treasure to keep. He's right I am humbled and truly appreciative of these wonderful comments written by readers on the other site. Thus I hope to honor them by including them here in my primary blog.

    Thank you and God bless to...

    --- Aneil Alvares - Mumbai on 12/29/2009 2:17:42 AM

    Great & touching content

    --- din - rng on 12/28/2009 11:59:48 PM

    A very nice and quiet piece of writing which stands out like the noth star on the vast skies with its sparkle that is just visible as different from the other stars sparkling alongside .

    --- Ravi - Jaipur on 12/28/2009 9:55:08 PM

    Good job! A very well written article with great display of words and without pretense of heavy vocabulary. And deservedly I was touched by content of the article.

    --- KP - Chennai on 12/28/2009 9:48:36 PM

    Very touching post.It has a huge message for all of us in the way the gentle woman faced her trials and tribulations.She was not vanquished because of her inner strength and great faith in the Lord. Thank you Ellen for sharing this in your charming style and play of words.

    Thank you, guys! You and the rest who have been appreciating the writing each time are truly the stars in my blog skies. You inspire me. God bless you all!! :-)

  6. Hi Elen,
    This is by long the longest post I have read in your blog. But wasa worth every bit. I really liked the description of the chapel. Masterly it was. Your mother is a very strong woman. Yes, true qualities always shine through darkness.

    Wish you and your family a very happy new year.

  7. Hi Indra,

    Happy and a Blessed New Year to you and your loved ones!

    What a lovely comment you wrote, thank you! Yes, mom was courageous strong and anchored on faith. This post intends to honor her memory.

    Thank you for this lovely visit. Take care and God bless you and everybody in your home.

  8. Hi Ellen, I so love this post (as well as your other pieces). I am always amazed by your profound words and how you touch people's hearts. That, I believe, is a gift and I want to thank you for sharing it with us.

    I agree that true beauty is revealed only when its light is from within. Very thought provoking as it is true.

    This new year, I wish you all the happiness life has to offer. That includes more fun times with your daughters.^^ I pray that God would grant the desires of your heart and shower you with more blessings. You are a beautiful heart and a beautiful soul.

    Happy new Year to you!^^

  9. Hi, Sashin and a Happy New Year to you and your loved ones too! :-)

    Thank you for your heartwarming message - touched my heart so! You are right, all that we are, have, and do are gifts from God. And it becomes worthy if we use it not only for our pleasure but for others too...joining one beautiful heart to another, one beautiful soul to another and many more... by God's design. You, my dear friend, have managed to do it with every writing through your blog.

    Thank you for this lovely visit.
    May God bless you and your family.

  10. simply wonderful.

    your blog is very soothing and peaceful.

  11. Hi Suryagni,

    Thank you for your lovely message. :-) Delighted to see you! I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings to you and your family.


:-) Here's where I warmly welcome you and where you leave your footprints behind with fond memories attached to it of wonderful chats and friendships. Thank you for your comments. Or send your comments to Will be seeing you in your blog too. God bless you!