Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Crucible {Unspoken Truth Spoken Everywhere}

In the last few days I have been struck by the image of a crucible.  

A crucible is a container that can withstand
 very high temperatures and is used for metal, 
glass, and pigment production as well as a number 
of modern laboratory processes. While crucibles
 historically were usually made from clay,
they can be made from any material that withstands
 temperatures high enough to melt or otherwise 
alter its contents.
(Wikipedia...italics mine)

"They can be made from any material that withstands temperatures high enough to...alter its contents", and that includes this material we call life.  I have many friends and acquaintances in situations (right now) that have seemed to morph into a crucible around them.  The heat is being turned up and the contents of those people are about to be altered.  It is uncomfortable, difficult and seemingly unfair.

See, many of us would like to push the crucible away, jump out of it, or pretend it doesn't exist.  The problem with the crucible is that once you are in it, there is no escaping until it has done its full job of melting and altering what it holds.

The crucible is the space where we must sit and ask tough questions.  It is where we dare ask "what is wrong with me?" and it has the audacity to speak back.  The crucible shows us where we are being unloving, impatient, selfish and grabbing after our own agenda, willing to trample down those who stand in our way.   It challenges our vision of God and the universe and forces us to evaluate the accuracy of those perceptions. It is the place that impurities (that we have long held dearly to) are revealed and melted away.

The crucible shows us our deep desire to control...our circumstances, our fates and others.  It exposes our hearts of darkness.  But it tells us the truth.  And the truth sets us free.  (Though in the satirical words of Richard Rohr..."Before the truth sets us free, it tends to make us miserable.")  The crucible is where we face our demons, and if we are willing to remain and give in to the process...they will be vanquished or at least very much diminished.

I am not sure if today finds you in a crucible (I spent the good part of six years in one!!), but if it does, take heart.  Though the heat is rising and everything in you screams to get out, there is a refining work going on in you that is much more valuable than gold.  It is by no means easy, but it is good.

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