Last week, I wrote about the Goldsmith and the analogy to human struggle. That truly resonated with me. But reflecting on it, I remembered an early lesson from my flight instructor that had a similar message.
While taxiing to the runway, one one of my first flights, he told me, “Make sure you always face into the wind when taking off.” I look at life in the same way: the challenges and difficulties that we face in life are what lift us up high into the sky.
There is a historical element that, in combination with metallurgy and materials sciences, gives rise to the age-old practices of goldsmiths. Why is it that goldsmiths take precious metals and place them into the hot, dirty coals?
The goldsmith might retort, “I use the heat of the flames to purify the gold – to turn an imperfect piece into the most precious metal.”
Perhaps the glowing blaze of the forge, the rising embers from the ashes, the swirling heat that distorts our vision, represents far more. Perhaps the goldsmith’s retort is the answer to the primordial question, “Why do we struggle?” It is the flames of the coals that purifies the gold. Likewise, it is struggle and hardship that purifies the human soul.
One that makes you enjoy the fact that you’re in love. It’s the one everyone knows about, the one that you look forward to.
The other is much heavier. It makes you feel sad that you love. It’s one of responsibility. A love that makes you go out of your way to care for someone. One that makes your life difficult but only because you want theirs to be easier.
In English we don’t have too many ways of expressing this dichotomy, though we find ways around it. Does this affect the way we think, as proposed by Sapir and Whorf?
This is a project I heard about years ago and fascinated me. It was not only a piece of artwork, but also a living example of the beauty of biodiversity.
I remember my elementary school having a tree drive where families could pick up fruit tree saplings and plant at home. We went there and brought home three apple saplings and planted them in our backyard. Over the years I would watch them grow from my window on the second floor, watching them slowly grow taller and taller.
While I was a bit sad that they blocked the prime sledding tracks on our little hill, I later learned to love these trees as a part of our home. When they finally started blooming and growing fruit, we quickly realized that these trees were in desperate need of pollination.
Those were the years where the sudden collapse of beehives was propagating like wildfire through the news. It was then that I recognized the central duality of nature — that of its frailty and its resilience.