How men, and women, are truly made is through adversity, pressure, extreme stress. After all these tests, a person’s level of perseverance, resilience, strength, character and beauty are found. As we go the way of life, we are presented with a number of opportunities to refine ourselves or to be forged. This starts at a young age and the process becomes more intense as we grow older. Many people will run from this process when confronted by it throughout the different stages in life. Those who face and endure the fire from these processes will surely become the strong leaders history speaks of.
There are many TV shows for our entertainment these days. One show I really enjoy is “Forged in Fire”. I, personally, am on and have been on a journey of refinement. The journey will ebb and flow. There are stages of rest and stages of challenges. This process is a lifelong process. When we have been refined into someone new, standby, because another stage of the process will present itself. We are living in one of those stages right now. It’s what we do and how we walk thru it that will determine our character and who we truly are.
Everyone has the ability to walk thru these stages. For many, however, that ability has never been given attention to. As children we struggle. Whether it be learning how to walk, tie our shoes, catch a ball or whatever. These are all stages. These stages and challenges intensify as we age. If we are not properly able to navigate and learn from those stages as children, we will struggle even deeper as we age.
The forging and refining processes are much like how we are shaped as the years pass by us. In the forging process the creator begins with raw metal. It’s cold, ugly, void of shape and serves little purpose. But it has potential. The creator, the blacksmith, sees something in that metal. The finished product. He knows what he wants it to be and begins the process. That raw metal will begin the challenge and be put into the fire. It will be heated to an excruciating point. To a point that it’s hardness can no longer tolerate the heat, so it begins to break down and soften. It succumbs to the strain of the fire it has been placed into. Immediately, the creator removes it from the fire and begins to shape and form it. It has hope. As he begins to beat it with a hammer or press, adding even more trauma to it, the metal begins to change. It’s composition changes. What’s inside the metal begins to shift as the shape itself begins to take on a different structure. Once the metal begins to look like the creator imagined it, he once again throws it to the fire. The metal, if given a mind and was able to think and comprehend, would wonder, “Why this is happening”? What is the reason for having to endure this, yet, once again? It’s because the creator knows what’s best for it and only wants the best for the metal. The creator also knows what it can handle. This is not the first time the creator has done this. The creator knows what will become of the metal even though the metal is lost, confused, tired, worn down and just wants it to end. This process is repeated over and over again until the metal has taken its final shape. Once that has happened, the metal is quenched, or dunked into liquid to cool and harden it. Once the metal has cooled into its finishing shape, the fine tuning begins. The creator will grind the small imperfections away and begin to polish the steel. The steel begins to shine and reflect light as it is twisted and inspected. Lastly, the edge is placed on the steel. It’s that edge that will allow it to move forward thru an opposing object. As the creator’s eye observes the fine and detailed characteristic traits of his workmanship, he smiles. He, whoever he may be, could be a Samurai or God, is happy with the finished product. But it’s not over. The process of creating the tool, the sword, the person is over. Over years of use, care must be taken. The blade must be oiled, sheathed and sharpened as it is used over and over again. It’s perfection and finished result last many lifetimes.
For metal that could not withstand the process of heating, beating, bending and grinding, it meets its fate being placed into a scrap bin. Along with all the other scrap, it will get heated and melted to face the process over again someday. We are that blade. We are that metal. We will go through processes in life. We will face the torment over and over again until we get it right. On the other side of the mountain of struggle before us is what hangs in the Samurai Museum in Tokyo. The swords are absolutely stunning. True works of art and perfection created by master blacksmiths and swordsmiths. We have and will face these phases of forging and refinement. It’s OK and it is good. We must endure the processes. We can endure if we choose to. Celebrate these stages in our lives. The unknown is frightening. In this time of our lives, find those people who fill you and walk with them. Do life with them. Learn from them and teach them. There is power in having that tribe, that 3 to 5 people, to struggle and fight through this life with. We are all important and valuable. We are all beautiful creations.
Samurai Museum in Tokyo. https://www.samuraimuseum.jp/en/