Of Glassblowers & Furnaces

When I was a kid, my grandmother took me to a shop in Manitou Springs, CO, to watch glass-blowing.  

I was warned ahead of time and then repeatedly throughout the visit not to touch anything, which made me want to feel the glass products even more, but I resisted, mainly because of the "you-break-it-you-bought-it" warning signs everywhere. 

It was amazing to watch the glassblowers. Seeing them take the melted glass from the furnace and then blow it into a long pole while shaping and stretching it with tongs was fascinating. 

I remember wondering how they didn't burn the living daylights out of their mouths. I also wondered what would happen if you touched the glass and it hardened around your hand. 

These are the things I would still wonder about.  

Interestingly, all of these memories came to me this morning when I read this fantastic quote from author John Koenig: 

There's a certain art to becoming who you are.  There's no standard kit you can use to assemble yourself, swapping out parts as needed.  Instead it feels more like a kind of stretching, a teasing out at the edges, like a glassblower standing at a furnace. 

I can't tell you how much I love this quote. It brought back a dear memory and spoke to me about how much we all are progressing as human beings.

On the one hand, most of us take pride in our uniqueness and that no one else is quite like us. On the other hand, we repeatedly try to apply cookie-cutter techniques to our growth.  

No assembly manual exists for us, no matter how much we sometimes want it to be that way.  What works for someone promoting their side hustle on Instagram and telling us that we can be just like them is an illusion for us.  

Instead, we are being stretched and pulled, teased out at the edges as if being shaped by a glassblower at a furnace, just as John Koenig puts it.  

And what doesn't take the heat drops away to the floor or gets broken off afterward because it's unnecessary.  We can fight this process or submit to it. It can be painful, but it can also be freeing.  

Ultimately, God does God's thing and bends the Universe to make something of us that looks more and more like the most authentic version of us every day if we are willing to be made. 

Therein lies the rub, though. We have to be willing to be made and abandon our constant efforts to find the manual and the parts and put all of it together ourselves. 

May we let ourselves be shaped and molded.  May we rise every day knowing there will be stretching and pulling, but all of it is for our good, and a masterpiece is emerging, the likes of which the world has never seen. 

May it be so, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us now and always. Amen.  


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