Thorns and Roses: A Meditation on Miracles + Suffering

Editor’s Note: We are pleased to introduce new CIVA member, Janelle Bighinatti, who has given us permission to re-publish this recent blog from her website. Please enjoy Janelle’s essay, poem, and photography.

shadow and light image


By Janelle Bighinatti

Daily I turn around and tragedy is before me, many far but some are near, twists and turns of events not my own and yet my own, reminding me that I am a colorful thread somewhere in the interwoven tapestry of this world. What hue is your thread? I’m quite sure mine is a deep burgundy, the color of wine and garnets, with a vein of shimmery metallic gold.

Poetry has always been my response to that which is intense and mysterious in my life. At this moment, I contend with the stress of a close friend who remains seriously chronically ill, and unimaginably heavy realities which have touched others around me. A musician friend recently asked me, do you believe in miracles? I didn’t know what to say… yes, yes I absolutely do ~ and yet, in the face of helplessness and hopelessness, what does this even mean?

By staying in this tension, with these twin weights of love and suffering… is this then the place of faith and of miracles? The mysterious realm of the heart, where heaven meets earth and the impossible is ever so possible?

Our brokenness meets our longing for wholeness as we receive the gaze of the compassionate One who is so intimately with us in our love and in our suffering. Perhaps my belief is that, more often than we realize, miracles happen via healing from the inside out.


Madonna of the Roses, (detail),1485
Madonna of the Roses, (detail),1485


life, delicate and fragile

gives way without warning

suffering weaves its coarse tapestry

a pattern of thorns and roses

foreheads to the earth

tease out our mirrored hope

as we stand on the promise

of miracles tenacious


begging receiving holding

the gaze of the compassionate One


Janelle Bighinatti is an art photographer, jewelry maker, heirloom artisan, antiques historian, and metalsmith-in-training who is passionate about bringing history to life and unearthing beauty in everyday objects.

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