Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:13-14 (NIV)
Today’s lesson is on the effects of heat. Before you read anything farther, scroll down to my last post and see the bowl pictured there. Compare it to how it looks now. Originally, it was a nice round shape with beauty and symmetry. The design was colorful and clear. On the surface, it appeared perfect, but looking closely revealed a fatal flaw. A crack ran almost all the way across. It was on the verge of splitting in half. When held, the glass wiggled. I was sure any moment, it would shatter into two pieces. Yesterday, after taking the glass I made in its place out of the kiln, (it turned out nice and was well received by the way), I put this bowl back into the kiln. My hope was that the heat would soften the glass and the two pieces would fuse together healing the gap. After about an hour, when the temperature in the kiln had slowly risen to 1200 degrees, I opened up the lid to take a peak. Instead of what I had hoped to happen, I saw that the bowl had even more cracks running through it. In fact, it was in about five pieces. Now that the bowl really was on the verge of ruin, I figured I had nothing to lose so ramped the heat up to 1600 degrees and let it sit for about 5 minutes, maybe less. In just that short period of time, the bowl became misshapen, more oval than round, but all the cracks except one right in the center fused. It seemed like it happened in the blink of an eye. I was shocked at how quickly the glass changed shape. So, I rushed to turn off the kiln and release the interior temperature down to 1100 degrees, then, left it to cool for ten hours. The amount of glass in the piece did not change, but it shrunk so the bowl is much thicker and sturdier than it once was. The colors are there, but the lines are not as straight. If you fill it with water, it leaks from a tiny hole in the bottom. Before it was beautiful, but on the verge of destruction ready to shatter at any moment. Now, it is still broken, but tougher. The same heat that warped it, made it strong. The bowl’s metamorphosis made me think about marriage. Newlyweds are a beautiful sight. The lovers can’t get enough of each other, always wanting to be together. But, the relationship can be fragile, easily broken by disappointment and hurt. Over time, choices are made to either bind firmly together or to part. Sometimes, it is in the test of hardship that the real melding of two lives takes place. When you get right down to it, all human relationships are broken in some way. However, like the bowl after its second fusing, time and circumstance can make us stronger if we are willing to go through the fire together.