I just returned from a highly anticipated trip to visit family. On the surface it was a most joyous occasion. The awesome stories of time gone by, the air of laughter, the new stories generated from new family members being added. The familiarity of places, things, songs and faint remembrances retold. And for the time spent together it was fabulous. A pallet quilted in loving togetherness.
There was also steel. It is the kind of steel where you know just how much to say and then you say no more. Just how much to shake something before you set it back down, before you break it. Just how far to enter a room before you ease out again as not to disturb the sleeping giant. That kind of steel.
You learn how to treat steel when you have been conditioned to treat it a certain way for so long. You can talk around it, about it, and in a passive-aggressive way may even be able to talk to it. But you don't handle it. At some point that only you understand you put it back where you found it. And though you may not bury it, you tuck it out of sight so that no one has to be bothered with it. Because if you don't see it, it does not exist. If you don't talk about it, you have no culpability if and when it breaks down. We expect steel to remain with the appearance of strong.
I saw a lot of steel when I was with my family. I even brought some with me. In truth, I wanted someone, anyone to ask me about mine. I was waiting for the opportunity, any opportunity to bend my steel just a bit to give its jewel a fighting chance. I was dying for someone to ask real questions about my steel. I was hoping to not only handle it but to own it together. That opportunity never really came. Those I love most kept picking up my steel and setting it back down in hopes of not breaking it, shaking it, or disturbing it. Thing is the jewel inside wanted nothing more than its steel to be broken so the facets inside could come out and be recognized. Be realized.
Steel is tough. Getting inside steel is tough. But the jewel inside is toughest of all, if only we give it an invitation to shine.