I am fortunate to have people in my life that make me better. They ask the right questions, make me think, have opinions counter to how I think, AND they are willing to rock the boat to keep me moving forward. I had breakfast with one such friend, and just being in her presence, discussing what was on my mind made my whole day better. She brought up good points, confirmed my instincts, made me think, and challenged me. Isn’t that what we want from our friends?
When we ended our meal, on my way home, I thought about the new Blacksmith space we are building. It is being constructed to be a place where iron sharpens, shapes and forms other pieces of iron into amazing things. Put hot metal, a strong surface (the anvil) and heavy hammers together, add a great deal of strength and pounding, and you can make just about anything. I mean anything! You simply have to be willing to do the work.
For iron to sharpen iron there has to be a foundation for the truth to be told. Trust, confidence, and the courage to speak what the other piece of iron may or may not want to hear. Sometimes it takes beating it senseless until the edge comes off and a stronger edge is built. And yes, people are just like iron – strong, unyielding, relentless, and moldable. A good blacksmith knows when to push, pull, hit more, hit harder, or even give the metal a rest. Like a good friend who will tell you the truth even when it means your edges will be sore and rounded. All too often we want people to agree with us when what we need is a good pounding on a strong anvil until we yield and become better.
The metal that is being worked, must be strong enough to endure the process. It must be solid in it’s make up and able to change. Some metals do not blacksmith well, others change almost instantaneously. And both the metal and the blacksmith know what is going to happen in the process, the metal will be transformed and the Smith will be exhausted when they are done. There are times when metal fails, cracks become irreparable or thin spots prevent further work. It is when we show our true selves that our real friends – those blacksmiths in our world – are best able to guide us forward helping us reach our true potential. Once the metal is quenched – dunked in oil – the last check for warps, cracks or bends takes place. If everything is okay, the refining begins. If problems are still evident the Smith goes back to work.
My friend and I chatted for about two hours, after which I was exploding with excitement. That morning it was my turn to be the metal, she was the iron I needed to keep me progressing. Next time we eat I hope to return the favor. Iron does shrapnel iron, and on some days you just need some iron you trust to pound the fear, frantic thoughts and give you the encouragement you need.