Why do I favor windows for a site dedicated to close relationships?
If I went with people pics I would be tempted to use straight-teethed, model-types found in iStock. Life’s not like that.
Windows show character. The ones on this site are simple, functional, worn, and in need of some putty and paint. They are unlike cathedral windows, ship portholes, and those double-layered barriers you speak through to officials at airports. When people interact with us they experience what we’re made of. Will they come to know us as pretty yet fragile, strong yet small, or maybe impenetrably closed off?
Windows come singularly, in pairs, in groups, and sometimes in waffle-iron rows and columns. Their numbers make statements from “I’m doing well and fine all by myself” to “I feel like I’m one-in-a-thousand and easily replaceable.” I’ve chosen a two-some image to represent the partnerships we knit together with friends, colleagues, spouses and children—social bonds that give us meaning in the larger edifice of our lives. Despite Facebook promoting otherwise, we need and manage well only four to five meaningful ties, and usually one at a time.
Windows provide a vision of life for people inside the building as to the world on the outside. When windows face north we see less sun, more darkness, and shadows stretching east and west. Windows that become opaque from dust or moisture may hide what’s outside for ill or for good. People from or in hurtful relationships struggle to see the world in positive terms, while others in supportive and mutual ties have reason for hope and peace. Both offer insight to the human condition.
Windows also show a creator’s craftsmanship—the effort, skill, and creativity required to assemble glass and frame into something beautiful and functional. For the kid in her tree house with hammer and nails, a piece of Plexiglas may be all that protects against wind and rain. It’s not quite the Pantheon’s oculus or Bernini’s dove window at St. Peter’s, but even simple windows can be artful and practical when we craft them with care. My conviction is that people and relationships flourish when approach them with effort, skill, and creativity.
When I was young I read The Adventures of Silly Billy, a story of a boy whose parents thought him not serious so he set out to find others truly silly. He came across people racing in and out of a windowless house with large flat metal pans. “Why?” asked Silly Billy. “To bring in the light! But it’s not working!” lamented one man. Billy sat them down, explained how windows worked, and got everyone renovating. Soon the house brimmed with brightness.
How are your windows?
Bill Strom, Author
I am a believer by faith, a professor by vocation, a husband by choice, a father by blessing, and a friend by hanging out. Along the way I have learned about close relating through my experiences, biblical models, and social science research. Hopefully my ideas and encouragement show up here in ways meaningful to you.