The Golden Light

by Maria Theresa Maggi on July 7, 2021

"Golden Light," chalk pastel sketch by Maria Theresa Maggi

“Golden Light,” chalk pastel sketch by Maria Theresa Maggi

Up in the loft at my house there’s an old window facing west at the end of the house. The glass of this window is textured and tinted harvest gold, and has probably been there since the house was built in 1976. Some people call it “church glass.” In the summer evenings, as the sun is setting over the ocean, it shines on this window and floods the open upstairs with golden light. I can see it from the couch and often just sit and stare at it in delight and wonder for as long as it lasts. It feels like a greeting.

The upstairs loft is also where my son and daughter-in-law stay when they come to visit. And for the last year and a little more, it’s also been the place where my foster grand baby stayed with them, too.

As reunification with their birth mom draws near, a prospect we were told was next to impossible at their birth, our hearts are heavy. We wish them well, but know in the center where she is staying and where foster grand baby will be living, she is propped up by much needed help.  We worry terribly how this will go in the long run and we struggle to accept the limits of the system to care for little ones who need more than it gives. While I am not at liberty to write details, we ask for your prayers and your love.

The other night I went upstairs when the golden light was coming through the window. I hadn’t been up there or been able to try going up there in a long time, and I wasn’t on my way there, I was on my way into my bedroom, but something pulled me up there instead to see it first hand. At first I just sat on the bed next to the little donut pillow and I teared up and thought I would just cry. But then, with tears in my eyes, I was flooded with memories of  the voices of my loved ones up there, laughing, playing,  trying to get foster grand baby to sleep, trying to change their diaper while they fussed, reading stories, playing music and more. I went and sat next to the crib and looked at all the little toys. I looked at the octopus curtain and it, too, was all lit up with the golden light. I could hear it rustle as foster grand baby played with it. I could see foster grand baby standing over by the skinny tall windows when they were first learning to stand up and Mike talking to them about it and taking their photo there. I went over to see what they saw, looking down into the trees. My heart was filled with love in a way that surprised me, since I expected to be overwhelmed with grief. Instead, just as the room itself was temporarily flooded with golden light, my heart flooded with gratitude for all that love and life we lived this past year, which they all so generously shared with me. After it started to fade, I went back out the gate and down the stairs, still in grief, but somehow changed, somehow also healed by that flood of love and gratitude. It’s with me still.

Most often those of us writing about our lives on a plant-based diet like to talk about how thrilling and uplifting our successes are. I think not enough is said about how sticking with the basics of a low fat whole food plant-based diet brings the kind of stamina and clarity to get through the heartbreaking times as well. I have no doubt I would be completely incapacitated physically by the stress and grief of these last few months if I hadn’t returned to the strict basics I know will work. Maybe it is the Capricorn in me, but I think this is equally, if not more, important than emphasizing times of triumph and riding high. Life does not always give us pleasant victories; it sometimes gives us challenges that stretch our understanding and break our hearts open in the process. And I can think of no better way to help my body weather those challenges than by simply eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans, with a soupcon of seeds or nuts thrown in. That, along with my ability to open my heart as it breaks, which my way of eating so richly supports, is saving my life.

I am suddenly reminded that when I broke the news here of this very new little person entering our lives, I titled the post I wrote “Yellow Is The Color.” I just realized I’m now bookending that first very magical year with more “gold.” I don’t know what this means, but at some level I can’t explain, it is healing–and hopeful, despite everything. It reminds me of the Japanese practice kintsugi: repairing broken pottery with gold, built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art. As in art, so–hopefully, I pray– in life. And I trust.

Maria (moonwatcher)

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marilyn Moriarty July 8, 2021 at 6:21 am

Lovely meditation. Thank you, Maria. Especially “Life does not always give us pleasant victories; it sometimes gives us challenges that stretch our understanding and break our hearts open in the process.”


2 Maria Theresa Maggi July 8, 2021 at 8:16 am

Thank you Marilyn xo


3 Margarer Evans July 8, 2021 at 7:12 am

lovely writing


4 Maria Theresa Maggi July 8, 2021 at 8:15 am

Thank you Marge xo


5 Olwyn July 8, 2021 at 10:04 am

Thank you.


6 Ellen July 8, 2021 at 10:21 am

Beautiful! We can always return to the center: our meaning, our focus, out daily movements.


7 Tamara July 8, 2021 at 1:50 pm

Oh, my heart. I’m crying thinking about all sides of this issue. Which at the center, are humans, filled with love and the best of intentions. A broken heart is still a whole heart. My Sufi teacher, Saladin, told me often when my own heart was breaking through a difficult divorce, fitting for custody of my child, that hearts crack and break to make them bigger to fill with love.
In the end, we are all just small human beings. Sending golden white light to you and dear Mike and his family.


8 Veronica July 12, 2021 at 11:11 am

I’m so saddened that you all have to go through this heartbreak. Life is full of challenges, even when we don’t want it to be… Your perspective is hopeful and heart-ful. I wish for the best for everyone in the situation. And know that grand baby had nothing but love in his year with you all and that will give them the strongest foundation on which to grow. I wish you what you need to feel your feelings through this.
I have hope and trust for you, too, that the golden glow will fill the cracks left behind. Sending you so much love and peace.


9 Maria Theresa Maggi July 13, 2021 at 10:10 pm

Dear Veronica, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your kind and compassionate words. Thank you. Love back to you.


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