The blacksmith takes care when choosing his iron. He looks at each bar to determine which would be best. They all hold wonderful possibilities!

At last, he settles for one ingot in the back, ready for molding. He stokes the fire and places the metal deep within the blaze. The intense heat softens the steel. The blacksmith removes the glowing rod. He sets it on his anvil, then proceeds to beat the crap out of it with a massive hammer.

The process continues over and over again. It’s tedious, tiring and can be heart wrenching. The tip may break as it’s hammering process. The sword may crack. Any number of problems could rise which would end this future sword’s life.

This is life.

We are the iron, in process at the blacksmith’s hands. Without the careful attention, the fire, and the hammering of life we can never become what we’re suppose to be. He allows the iron to enter the fire to be purged of its imperfections. He allows the hammer to fall to mold it into something new. The forging of our life hurts.

In time, with patience and through much pain and affliction we become something new. Much like a Samurai sword being forged by a master smith’s hammer. We are in fire, being softened and purged. We are on an anvil with blow after blow raining down on us. Back and forth this continues.

But wait, there is more!

We survive, thrive and grow during this process. New iron wraps around the old, strengthening it. Like friends and family pooling together. It makes us stronger. More steel added to the forging of the sword (our lives) the stronger and sharper it will be.

As an individual we can weather these storms. We can be a sword, strong and sharp and beautiful. Though, as a group we can be stronger still. It makes the forging easier.

The heat may not be as hot, but you have the support of others to endure it.

The hammer stands ready to fall. Yet, you can bear the beating because you have those to comfort you and fold around you.

Afterwards comes the grinding away of left over defects. We’re placed on a stone and run over and over. We’re ground down. Scrapped and stretched. The stone is merciless. Our edges worn down. Just when we feel we can take no more … it stops.

In the end, we are a shining, sharp and beautiful sword. Strong. Ready for any coming battle.

The tired black smith holds the sword aloft and says with a tear in his eye, “This is a good sword. It held together under fire. It stood its ground whilst the hammers pounded. While the sparks flew. While other swords broke under the pressure. It stayed strong while stones ground at it. Here it is. A work of art. My pride.”

A sword. A life.