Photo A Day for Lent: Temper

I took this picture this morning, by the way. Care to guess where I was?
I took this picture this morning, by the way. Care to guess where I was?

temper

(n) A person’s state of mind in terms of being angry or calm.

(v) improve the hardness or elasticity of glass, steel or other metal by heating and then cooling it.

When I was in seventh grade, I was required to take Mr. Macke’s Metal Shop class. It was pretty exciting and I made this really suh-weet mirror sconce for my mom.

Part of the class, though, was learning about tools and properties of metal.

That’s where I learned the word “temper” as it applies in the second definition above. Iron alloys, namely steel, are often tempered to make them harder or softer. That’s truly the complete extent of my knowledge on this particular topic. I could not make a mirror sconce today if you paid me.

It seems that tempering isn’t just for metals, and maybe I know a little more about that. It surely could be possible that it’s the “heat” of challenges, hardships or struggles that when added our lives sometimes that makes us stronger individuals. I can remember on several occasions, as I stood in the middle of what felt like an unbearable fire, thinking I would not be able to make it through the process.

But then…I did. I could look back and realize that the struggle only served to make me tougher, wiser or better. And sometimes, it made me softer–more flexible and willing and able to bear with and understand others as they went through their own fires and struggles.

A new, working definition:

temper

(v) to improve the toughness or elasticity of an individual through trial and struggle with the ultimate goal of creating a more Christ-like character in that individual.

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