I have been reading a bit in sword-making lately since a friend of mine recently retired and had been a blacksmith and now had the time to pursue it more frequently. He was telling me about the various difference in technique, form, and tradeoffs you have to make in order to make a strong, well-crafted blade. He described how important the process of heating, folding, shaping and cooling would slowly but surely turn the steel into an elegant weapon capable of withstanding severe stresses. He also told me how if you cool too slowly or too quickly, you can cause the blade to become brittle or inflexible, reducing it’s usefulness.
It made me think of how people are molded and shaped by the events in their lives to either make them strong or make them fragile. As we go through the fire, the shaping, and cooling, many times we (very naturally) want to move to the stages where there is no heat, no hammering and no introduction of new things to assimilate. We just want the quick cooling and handoff as a finished product, but the reality is that we need the difficult times, the wearing times, the learning times, and the relaxing times in the proper ratios if we are to grow and be strong, flexible and elegant people. If we cool too fast or are in the fire too long, we miss the balance point and need to start the process all over again.
So, as many of you are going through trials and difficulties, my advice is to take heart. This process will result in you becoming stronger and more capable than you ever believed possible. It may stretch and challenge you but won’t destroy, but, rather, make you.