When I started thinking about this subject I went at it from a wholey religious point of view. I was going to talk about a story in the Bible, but I think I am going to come at this from a different point of view. Because as I have said in previous entries we are the sum of all things, a sum of encounters, experiences, choices and the consequences of our actions. But, what I never really touched on is how we get melded into this entity called an individual. The more I think about this subject the bigger it becomes and the only thing that comes to mind is that life is a crucible, the impurities of our lives are burned away, and the heat and the pressure of life mold us and build us in such a way that we come out on the other side a person. All the things we have been through and the culmination of all the things we are taught and the things we have suffered have shaped our destiny our path. Now if you don't know what a crucible is, it is a device that is used in the smelting of ore or other substances, extreme pressure and heat are applied to change and make the substance malleable. It transmutes the material placed with in it by calcifying it by extreme heat.
Using that as an example of what I am talking about you will begin to see that the pain, suffering and hardships we endure an go through are the heat and the pressure applied to our lives. We are the material that has been placed in the crucible vessel and we are changed and transmuted from the innocence of birth to the individual we have become. I would say that most of us go through the transforming pressures and heat of the crucible in our teen and early 20 years of life, these are the years when we make the most mistakes and the world and society are harsh and quick to correct and punish us for those mistakes. We are malleable and we change as we grow and learn. However, when we reach our late 30's and early 40's we are starting to become tempered much like steel. Steel is the heating of iron and coal within a crucible and cooled, the next process it goes through is tempering, that is the beating of it into shape, the hammering adds strength and density to steel, our experiences in life after our 20's is where we are tempered and become weathered. Our strength increases as our knowledge and experiences increase, thus we become a stronger version of the transformed individual we were.
Now if you understand what I have been saying up to this point you can begin to see that when we are young and impressionable we are raw material, ingrained with the teaching of our parents and society, then we are put out on our own and we make mistakes and we fail and rise again, sometimes we rise above defeat and sometimes we just rise enough to pull through. But each of these experiences leave with us a part of the coal product like in the production of steel...we are the iron ore, the coal added is our experiences, and the heat of the crucible is the failings and the pressure to rise back up, we have dreams and goals that spur us forward, we fear of failing ourselves and letting our parents down etc. These are the pressures and heat that change us and make us from iron and coal into steel. How we pick ourselves up after our failures and how we conduct ourselves with our triumphs are the tempering forces that harden us and make us from a piece of steel into a blade. Our tragic circumstances, illness, bad luck and pitfalls hone our temperament to a razor sharpness. But it is the kindness shown to us by others, especially our friends which buffer us and make us a kinder and gentler being. Trust me when I tell you that friends are what make the world a place worth living in, even when your own personal world is falling and crashing around you. It is the friendships you have inspired and support you and help you rebuild when things begin to crumble, and they do for all of us sometimes.
It is my contention here that learning and living are not mutually exclusive, they are mutually inclusive, we must continue to learn or we are not living, we are not moving forward, and if we are not moving forward then we are merely existing and sooner or later, the crucible will scorch us and burn us and if we are not already tempered and buffeted by friendship and love we are going to be filled with hate, bitterness and full of weakness and when the pressure builds up again to transmute us we fold and crack and break. As I said earlier in our teens and 20's is when we first feel the heat of the crucible. But what I didn't explain is that this is a never ending process, we are constantly heated and more pressures come upon us and we learn, we rise, and we go through it again. The end process of this is a greater level of enlightenment, a spiritual journey, the understanding and the wisdom of age and other things. Using my same analogy as the steel and adding coal, what happens if we just add coal to the crucible and we apply pressure and heat to it? I tell you it becomes a diamond, the hardest substance we have on earth. This is what the crucible of life is trying to make us, a beautiful and brilliant diamond. Remember this every diamond has some flaws, no single one is perfect. Neither are we as individuals we all go through the heat and the fusing of the raw materials we are first made into steel tempered into a blade and through adding of more harsh realities and benefit of friends that transmutation takes place again and from our roughen hardened steel comes, burnished and tarnish malleable substance yet again, which when heated again the steel mixture burns off and the coal is transformed within us to the rock hard qualities of a diamond.
Life is harsh, hard, demanding we are changed and mutated over and over again each of us striving for our own perfection one day at a time and guess what with the help of your friends and family and all the other relationships you have in your life you are transformed from a tiny chunk of iron, or coal into a gleaming and shining diamond for the world to see and behold. Don't loose faith or hope that you aren't going to make it you are well on your way, throughout your life you have been trained for this and are an expert at rising above your pitfalls and short comings you are who you are a bright and shining star, an icon to be coveted and example for others to follow. Trust that all you have been through has made you a better person, you have been there and done that. Now it is your turn to reach out and give hope, understanding, knowledge and courage. You have lived a life of your own, and you have learned many things along the way, be free to share your pearls of wisdom, don't be afraid to sing your own praises, and let the world know that yes it threw everything it could at you, it heated you and put extreme pressure upon you, but you made it through and you lived to see the victory. You have become a jewel and a bright shining gem.
So when life is hard, and the pressures and stress seem so great. Know this that when you come out the other side, and you will, we all do, you are going to be so much more than you were, and you are going to be valued so much more for having done it and been there. You are a true inspiration to others, keep up the good work. I will see you when your life is over, and we will chat about the things that took you from stone and steel and made you incorruptible and immutable as a diamond, I will be there to share in your tale of how you became that diamond.
As always my hopes and dreams are with you. I long to hear from you, I value your input and I want you to be a part of my community of readers. I pray that I have been a help to you all in some small way.