Friday, May 13, 2016

Stained Glass of Misunderstading

Stained Glass of Misunderstanding
This ground level stained glass work of art has been in Lockport longer than I have been alive. I am not sure how much longer it will be there. There used to be a basement bar inside that window called Carter's Place. It shut down a few years ago but it used to be across the street from my office. After my divorce I would go there once in awhile for a drink, pool, or hang with friends during karaoke night.

Every time I drive by the stained glass piece I smile. Every time I walk by it I stop to admire it. I do not know why I like it so much. I wish I could explain why I think it is beautiful. I have no idea. I have tried to explain it and I cannot.

There was one night I was meeting with some friends there and the conversation turned from friendly to serious. They did not like the direction I was going in life. They knew that my days as a minister were coming to end and they wanted me to stay in something I could not do anymore. 

I was not as good with confrontation then as I am now and standing for myself was not something I was good at. So when I tried to explain me, it came out badly and I was being misunderstood. It was more and more frustrating. Nothing I said came out right. I felt my heart was beautiful and what I wanted out of life was lovely and it was, but I could not get past misunderstanding. 

I retreated and was about to go to my apartment two blocks away from Carter's Place. I walked out and up the concrete stairs and there was some idiot in his 20's with his baseball cap on backwards peeing on the stained glass window. I looked at him. I was already in a bad mood and now I was angry. I told him to stop that. He looked at me, grinned stupidly and kept pissing. 

I was furious but I also was not in the mood for a fight so I walked past him and turned the corner on the main drag to see my friend, Matt. He was also a minister. He could tell I looked upset and asked me what was wrong.

I told him I just felt like I could not say anything right or do anything right. We walked down the street toward my apartment and he started talking about Satan as seen in Dante's inferno. I knew the story. In it the 9th circle of hell was all ice and Satan's feet were frozen in the ice. He kept beating his wings and that created the ice that kept him trapped. "If he just stopped trying so hard, he would find a way out of hell, Pat."

"But I want to be understood, Matt." I said.

"Don't try so hard. Stop beating your wings and you will get out of hell. Trying to be understood by people who do not want to listen is beating your wings. Stop, be, get out."

We want so hard to be understood. We want to be able to explain why a simple stained glass picture above a dive bar is captivating. We want to be able to explain our dreams and frustrations. Sometimes we cannot. Sometimes it is okay to stop beating our wings and just live our lives. It is okay to be misunderstood.

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