Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Tiffany Glass Windows

Hey, I’m rerunning a favorite today.


Hi chumps! I’ve been on vacation with my family in Orlando, Florida for a few days. Yesterday my mother and I visited the Morse Museum in Winter Park, which if you find yourself in the Disney World orbit, I can highly recommend over rollercoasters, crowds, and uber-commercialized touristy crap at the theme parks. The Morse Museum is a mind-blowing collection of Tiffany glass, jewelry, and Arts and Crafts pottery. Really, I cannot convey to you how exquisite it all is. Make it a must-do if you find yourself in this neck of the woods. But the crowning jewel of the museum is the Tiffany Chapel.

tif-peacockThe chapel was created for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It’s this Byzantine-inspired Art Nouveau confection of glass mosaic and stained glass. It’s freaking amazing. The altar piece is a mosaic of two peacocks facing each other with a crown floating above — it looked like a technicolor dream of Gustave Klimt to me, the swirls and jewel-like abstractions. They say it was Louis Comfort Tiffany’s masterpiece.

The chapel had a rather sad history, which you can read about. Suffice it to say, it was a sensation when it debuted, but then struggled to find a home. Tiffany rescued it at one point, had it restored and installed in his mansion estate Laurelton Hall, (which is its own amazing story). By the 1950s, the estate was abandoned and in 1957 a fire raged for three days and most of the place was destroyed. The chapel survived, only just.

The daughter of Tiffany called the McKeans, a couple that ran a small museum in Winter Park, Florida and asked if they wanted a few of the windows. Okay, TRY and imagine a world in which someone is saying “here, please TAKE a Tiffany stained glass window off me, because I know you would appreciate it and no one else apparently does.” So the McKeans travel to Long Island, New York and viewed the wreckage of Laurelton Hall. The fire fighters had salvaged some of the windows, which were leaning against a wall — some miscreants had come and thrown rocks through some of them. The place was full of debris, open to the elements. The McKeans decided then to rescue the chapel and save as much as they could. At the museum are photos of the ruins and the salvage company that came to move it — who didn’t treat it right, threw all the pieces in the back of a truck with the crowning indignity — topping the pile with an old tire.

Mind blowing.

Tiff-MorseWhat does this have to do with infidelity? Well, as I was listening to this story during the narrated film at the museum (which my mother insisted on attending… thank you Mom…), I thought — what kind of MONSTER throws a rock through a Tiffany glass window?! What kind of idiot cannot see how freaking beautiful these works of art are? What sort of world do we live in where an entire mansion full of Tiffany glass is just abandoned? And it occurred to me, that some people can’t see obvious beauty. They destroy and devalue. Or they can only appreciate something if it is set in a context of What Is Fashionable and Approved Of, versus just seeing it for what it IS — beautiful and worthy.

Cheaters are the sorts of people who would throw a rock through a Tiffany glass window. To give your heart to someone, to be faithful to them, to try and forgive an unforgivable betrayal — that makes you a beautiful person. Tiffany glass windows are no less valuable because some idiot could not appreciate their beauty and threw a rock. Tiffany windows should not think… Gee, if I’d only been some work of abstract expressionism… something in vogue… if I’d only been a Jackson Pollack painting, they wouldn’t have thrown that rock. No, Tiffany windows are what they are — exquisite, obviously beautiful things. It just took escaping the ruins and the rock throwers for the world to notice was was really apparent all along — that these are works of art. Precious creations.

I believe this is true for chumps as well. Get away from the burning ruins and find someone who appreciates you. Your worth was never in question. Some people throw rocks. Some people are ugly and can’t see true beauty. It’s not you. It’s them.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I have visited this museum and agree that it is exquisite. Happens to be the largest collection of Tiffany in the world. Unfortunately, it was with my WASband who was getting ready to throw the rock.

  • THIS.

    “Get away from the burning ruins and find someone who appreciates you. Your worth was never in question. Some people throw rocks. Some people are ugly and can’t see true beauty. It’s not you. It’s them.”

    Miscreants would have tagged the Jackson Pollack. If you can’t appreciate a Tiffany window I don’t see how you could appreciate a Pollack. Insert “I could have done that…” response here. Perhaps Carl Andre would have been more to their taste.

    • Pollack is popular right now. People who care more about being in fashion would pick Pollack over Tiffany, and switch immediately if Tiffany became more popular.

      They have no internal beauty radar to guide their preferences.

      • Yes. I grew up among artists, so have a good grip on art history and critique. One is a narcussist who gawks and shakes their head at the peaceful and beautiful “pedestrian” art on my walls. I hang what I love on my walls for ME, not to impress.

        • There is just something I feel inside when I look at a Tiffany glass window. It’s the artistic equivalent of the way I feel when I hear a wood thrush sing. It’s like a view into the heart of life.

          • The shama thrush in Hawaii sounds so mysterious and evocative. Yes, the heart of life.

  • Your analogy is so perfect, on this mind bending subject. It is so hard to reconcile why anyone would destroy something beautiful and real. Normal people would never even think of destroying a Tiffany.

  • My 20 year old autistic son said to me the other day, “We just need to be the people that we are. We need to be better than them.” (Yeah, I was stunned by this speech.)

    This after his father told him to shovel flat a huge pile of dirt which come from a sewage leak. My son is a Tiffany window and his father can’t see that.

    I see it though. Prayers needed to speed this divorce and free us from this person.

    • I surely hope your treasure of a son is NOT shoveling sewage dirt on behest of his Dad… “Hell No, that’s a hard pass,” Biohazard/prohibited.

      • No. And I immediately contacted my attorney. PLUS, it was 92 degrees when he suggested our son do this digging.

        No way.

    • Our Children are our Tiffany windows.
      No natter what one does to them we will always be there to put the pieces back together again. We mend any broken pieces with love.
      Then one day, we blink, and our little ones are grown, and suddenly, it is them who see the light, ( even those who do not know the whole story), they mend our Tiffany glass. They hold us together.
      I remember at DDay time when my little girl had just turned three and I was carrying her sibling, I remember thinking that no matter what happened I would always be there for them. I would die for them, I would never desert them.
      I know most, if not all, Chumps, feel this way.
      We give our strength to our Children, who in turn, soon learn to give strength back to us.
      This is by our example.
      It is not on the cheater!

      Tiffany glasses are so precious, just like our loved ones.

      CL, I am happy you are having a happy holiday, and enjoying time with your Mom!

      • I was just thinking the same exact thing! My young 10 year old daughter, whom Dad abandoned for years while he chased fresh skank, old skank, hedonism in every form, is most certainly as precious as Tiffany glass. XH couldn’t or wouldn’t see it. Vile soulless monster.

      • Sorry, I should have said “had” a happy holiday,
        Happy memories, the best kind!

      • Our children are our Tiffany windows! Thank you for this Peacemaker, what a beautiful analogy to take in, a gift!
        Needed this soooo much today.
        It truly made my day to read this!❤️

  • This is such an accurate analogy of some people either not recognizing and appreciating goodness, or just being destructive idiots who have to cause destruction. I think of the ex husband as a hybrid of the two. He had such a great family, so much better than he grew up on. For whatever reason, he couldn’t accept the goodness that was his. I call that effed up stupidity.

  • I also really, really needed this today. I always love to read this story. Thanks Tracy!

  • Like a beautiful, intricate Tiffany window with a rock thrown through it, we are damaged high quality goods in the wreckage of the aftermath of destruction caused by these immature, disordered thugs. They work so hard to bring us down because they can’t handle who we are, or rise to our level. They aren’t even worth hating, just protecting ourselves from and not allowing everyone access to our beauty, just like the museam takes care to protect the precious things inside it’s doors. You have to pay to get inside and be respectful.

  • Chump lady is right
    Cheaters cant see what they have already
    Probably afraid of intimacy
    My ex was with a ow who dumped her kids
    He was proud of that
    Daughter having kidney removed, acting like a doting dad
    She, my daughter said I was like a angel dad is like a devil.
    Isn’t that saying something
    Out the mouth of babes, cliche but cliche are true

  • Sometimes people are just clueless. Ex traded tarnished silver for fools gold and he thinks he got a good deal. That makes him a fool.

  • This one stuck to my mind the first time I read it.
    It’s a great great great analogy. What the cheaters do says EVERYTHING about THEM and NOTHING about ME.

    What could possibly be attractive and “fun” about betraying the person you’ve committed to, and your children, which actually is the ultimate ugliness, is beyond my comprehension. And your co-conspirator being some kind of upgrade? Proof of disordered thinking.

    Ironically he used to marvel at my ability to hone in on overlooked valuables at the Goodwill or at a garage sale. I found a brooch in the junk jewelry tray at a local thrift store. I paid a dollar. It was later valued by Butterfields for 800.00.

    But even my discerning hawk eye is not 100 % accurate.

    I married a forgery.

    • (One of his favorite movies is Roadhouse with Patrick Swayze. Why am I surprised?)

      • Yes, favorite movies are full of red flag potential. Now I know this – where before I used to just shrug.

  • Add me to the, thanks, I needed this list. Everyone here knows how hard it is to rebuild confidence after being destroyed by these people. I am in Colorado and this inspired me to revisit the Brown Palace. The Tiffany ceiling there is amazing! I will never look at it the same again!

    STBX never saw me or the kids as valuable. When the kids did the 16 personalities test, they were super excited to have insight into who they were. When they explained their personalities to their father, he told them to their faces, no, that is not who you are. What is crazy is that everyone says that I have the most amazing kids. His loss.

    • They can’t handle people at a level they can’t rise to. What a jerk he is to your kids because they outshine him.

    • It is his loss, ex would downplay or ridicule anything my son found interesting.

      I know the sinking feeling of watching your child excitedly share something with their father and
      be disappointed by the response.

      • Oh, watching the pain on a kiddo’s face is the worst. I spent so much time fixing that pain, trying to erase what he’d just said, insisitng that he meant well. Omg.

        Mine derived value from his kids when they made him look good and fed his ego.

  • Que se lève celui
    Qui leur lance la pierre
    Ils ne sait de l’amour
    Que le verbe s’aimer
    (Let he who threw the stone at them
    Stand up and take a bow
    He knows the verb ‘to love’
    But does not know how)

    Les Désespérés, Jacques Brel

  • The kind of person who would throw a rock at a Tiffany glass window (or a Jackson Pollack or a Roy Lichtenstein) is exactly the kind of person who would sabotage a marriage (simply because they can) rather than committing to working on it so that it can reach it’s potential (because that’s too much like hard work).

    Bitter experience would suggest that they would then double down to:

    • Deny responsibility for the trashing of the marriage – “it wasn’t me ……. you can’t prove it.”
    • Blame the Chump for failing to prevent the trashing of the marriage – “As it isn’t my fault it must be your fault, or of it’s my fault then you made me do it, so it’s still your fault.”
    • Blast the Chump for random perceived minor character flaws just to add insult to injury – “You are teetotal and so I am embarrassed to invite my friends round for a drink; so I go out to drink with them blah blah blah.”

    I now realise that my Ex-Wife was sabotaging our 25 marriage as early as 3 years in; it just makes me want to puke.

    • Same with my ex. I didn’t recognize the gaslighting and blaming early on unfortunately. Only through the glaring light of my rose colored glasses being shattered did I reexamine our years together.

      • I guess that when someone is deliberately breaking a window pane by pane it takes a while for others to realise that it’s no longer a window ……. but just a hole in a wall.

        If ever there was a metaphor for my marriage then this is it.


  • My daughter, in middle school, shared that she wanted to be a vet. The Ex said she didn’t have what it took to be a vet. That is one day I reamed him. I told him to keep his mouth shut and never say that to her. He didn’t know the power of encouragement. I encouraged my daughter in her passion and set the best example I knew how to be a professional. I have talked her through the ups and downs of college and grad school. I am more than proud to say that in May she will graduate and be a doctor in veteranarian medicine. If he says anything to me at the ceremony, I will coldly ask why he is even there.

    • (((Beawolf)))
      Big big hugs to you & your daughter,
      She is your solid Tiffany glass, she is so beautiful & Mighty, just like you, her role model, her Mother.
      You must feel so so proud!
      ( & think of what you will save in Vet bills! ) ????

      • Thank you Peacekeeper! She went through so much in college. Was engaged and fiance cheated on her during her senior year. Thought she wouldn’t get into vet school, but she perservered, took a gap year and made it in the next year. When she found out what her Dad did, she said “How could you do to Mom what Markcus did to me when you saw how hurt I was?” That was both of our wake up moment. Since then we have supported each other. She is now with a fabulous man who I will be proud to call my son someday. There is light and it all comes in God’s time!

  • Thanks Tracy! I appreciate how much of a nerd you are.

    What if the ones who are really interested in me, I’m not sexually attracted to at all…like at all, after trying and trying…sexual attraction has to go beyond looks, like pheromones and chemistry right? I’ll continue searching for both shared values and attraction…another unicorn in itself I guess.

    • Omg, way to go daughter. And you for being behind her all the way. She will have a good life in many ways as a vet, because she did not give up early.

    • Oops poodle, that comment was supposed to be for someone else but I had something I wanted to share with you so somehow I get it that is how this comment ended up here. I have to look it up, though, so hopefully later today.

      • So, poodle I found it it’s in a video I listened to. A couple of carats, since I don’t know you..I found the guy’s psychology helpful, despite the clear evidence that he hails also from a religious point of view. He’s a therapist by training and experience. The talk gets under way at 11 minutes but with all the building blocks he does, the part where he explains attraction and when and where we feel the fireworks doesn’t show up until 1:12. That’s an hour and 12 minutes into the talk. But for me it pretty much explained my whole life!!! Enjoy.

  • Have been to this museum after being inspired by an earlier run of this same article. It is truly a marvel.

    Went with my now fiancé (soon to be husband) fellow Chump. It was delicious irony to go with him and be marveled and feel our own worth reflected back.

  • I needed this. I divorced my cheater. Have since remarried. My wife tells me how much she loves me and what a good husband I am. But in the back of my mind is all the awful things my XW told me. How “ugly” I was to her.

    Just because someone throws a rock thru our a Tiffany Glass window doesn’t make us ugly. It’s a reflection on them. Thank you.

  • We have to scrape these unappreciative creepers off.

    They try to poison our self esteem, and it works for a while. Till we see them for who they truly are.

  • Today I received a random text from ex that read ‘I know you hate me and it’s fine’. If we were still married and if I were the same person I was a year ago I would have replied instantly and try to figure out where he was coming from. Today I’m proud to say I didn’t reply.

    After been thrown with rocks so many times it feels good to be free now. Although we have many shattered pieces of our lives, we can piece them back together no matter how tiny the shard. Whether it’s our self esteem, anxieties about the future, insecurities about future relationships, we can pick up the pieces and become whole again.

    I met a lady over the weekend who ended her engagement after 7 years because her fiance was emotionally abusive. She was even shaking when she spoke about him. And I was just enraged at the entitlement of these fuckwits who do such things to the most beautiful of us.

    Thanks for this story today. I needed to hear it. May we all rise above these rock throwers and glass shatterers.

  • There was a time when he was being a smug, mean, cheating asshole. I was pick-me dancing so strongly he called me “pathetic” to my face. One day we went on a walk around the neighborhood…he walked by a house where a beautiful woman had moved from (they divorced because he was cheating but that is an aside) and Cheater commented that he missed her because she was beautiful.

    We had barely gone around another bed and he said he had a conversation that day where he told a buddy “My goal is to have a trophy wife”…what a shitty thing to say to your current wife, yea the one you just cheated on.

    I was weak my fellow chumps and wildly high on hopium and even that abuse didnt send me packing, there were years of abuse in my future…

    After Cheater died, I was dating someone taller and more successful than Cheater and we went to an event where one of his chums said that I was a “trophy” then sputtered and apologized for objectifying me. He asked if I was offended, I said that I was actually relieved (kinda shallow of me, give me a pass please).

    My Cheater HAD a trophy…a Tiffany masterpiece and he saw me as trash but I never was trash.

    • Oh no dis to short men…I actually like short men. The reason it was part of the story is that Cheater resented men taller & richer than him. I genuinely treasured his short middle class self…I though he was beautiful.

      If we had divorced and I still ended up with husband #2, husband #1 would have first shit himself then he would have rewritten history that I ran off with a tall rich guy. Earthly-him would have hated my subsequent spouse. I think that Purgatory-him likely appreciates my new husband for giving me the love and decency that I should have gotten all along.

  • When I recall my ex telling me that I was too controlling, too busy, too strong. Life with me was all about responsibility, according to him. He thought I checked all the boxes when he met me and that he would be a fool to not keep me. But then he realized that it’s a lot of work to be married to someone who is high value. He preferred someone who was less strong. Simpler.

    I find another analogy in the Tiffany chapel museum that relates to my experience.

    It takes a lot of work to maintain a priceless work of art over time. It doesn’t just sit their and look pretty on its own. It requires attention, security, climate control. It needs to be cleaned in a certain way. But, putting in the effort to keep it preserved is worth it to those who see its beauty and value.

    Our ex’s realized that keeping a Tiffany is work. It takes special effort. But, they realized that they didn’t want to do the maintenance anymore. They decided to trade in a work of art for the plastic imitation lamp at Walmart. That lamp doesn’t need to be specially cleaned with specific products. You can stomp around it and not care if it causes damage. If it falls and breaks, no worries, just buy another one.

    Someday, someone will see me for the Tiffany that I am and treat me with dignity and respect, understanding that they hold something precious in their hands. A respect will be accorded, thought and care, and it will get better with age.

    • I also think that mine married me, in part, because I checked all the boxes and he knew he would be a fool to not snag me but he resented the normal process of maintaining a relationship with a person who was engaged in the process.

      I was the right height, weight, temperament, profession (they used to tell military officers to marry nurses) but he had hit the snooze button on our relationship twice already and I was done and told him “now or never” which he later used as an excuse to cheat and abuse. He didnt HAVE to marry me, “no” was an answer.

      • Yes, my ex told me during the marriage that he marriedme because all his friends and his brother had married, and he felt it was ‘time’. They are that out of touch that they don’t know how hurtful this is to say.

        • Yep, I got the I never loved you story, and I was never faithful. That was tossed at me as he left for Schmoopie. Honestly, I doubt these fuckwits eve remember what they say from one moment to the next, they are laser focused on their throbbing dicks.

          Doesn’t make it hurt any less, but reality is likely he just tossed that out to justify his behavior.

  • Thank you for the reminder. Been mighty past few weeks but the last two days have been feeling low. It’s been 3 months since I dumped him and moved out. Took shelter in my brother’s house only to discover bro is cheating on his newly-wed wife who is stuck overseas because of covid. I gave my brother 3 months to tell her but doesn’t look like he has any plans to. Meanwhile, I’ve been struggling to find accommodation and move out of this triggering environment. Today, is one of those days…
    Seeking comfort that I’m part of the CN now. Hoping to be back to my productive badass self tomorrow.

    • I’m sorry YAS. How awful. As my mom used to say “keep your chin up”. We got your back.

  • I love this article too – mostly because I have been to that Museum 5 times over the past decade – incl January 2020 – all the way from Australia. the Museum is fan-freakin’-tastic – mind blown! One year I went to their lovely Christmas out doors event and saw the famous Christmassy / religious windows. I have little Tiffany souvenirs around me – fridge magnets, an umbrella, a bag hook, a night light.
    (I also have many things from the fantastic Tim’s Gallery – and discovered in Jan it had shut its doors – sigh. The clinky road pavers. The wine shop on tap. The organic vege market, the little boat ride, the raptor zoo). I had forgotten your analogy – now when I look at these items I will remember to remind myself.
    Ex refused to come on any of the trips to Orlando. Thought it was a waste of $$.
    Thank you for this reminder. A moment of gentle therapy. One day I will visit again – and for the first time I won’t go alone. I’ll be with someone I love.

  • Beautiful CL!!! I just love this so much. I’m reading a 8/8/22 post and someone mentioned this archive and I came back to take a look( thought I read all the archives, but missed this one).
    Today would have been my 42nd anniversary and I’m pretty bummed out. This post helped so much. Thank you for it.❤️????????

  • >
    %d bloggers like this: