Polished by the flame...

Fire hardening, is when you take a piece of wood and put it over a fire. slowly changing it's properties. The hardening, also known as fire-polishing, draws the water from the wood, changing its structure. These changes turn the wooden tip and make it like a knife, with sharp edges, and makes the wood more durable.

Going through a change in life is similar to being polished by fire, you change, leaving some part of you behind. The flame burns hot, altering your structure deep within. Patterns that have been established, touch points along your routine, now have to be put away to make room for your new role.

Tonight I went to my mom's retirement dinner...she was honored, people spoke nice words about her, her impact on the community of educators clear to all who listened. My sister and I joked that she will be back, that her retirement may not sustain. When you have been a teacher for thirty-eight years, it is hard to imagine doing anything else. You entire being is "teacher."

One of my colleagues is also retiring. Her entire career has been at our school. She has been an assistant, a lunch lady, and now a teacher. Today was her last Friday ever...it is hard to imagine the school without her. The students will never understand her contribution. She is kind and caring. She pushed through two years of cancer treatment to be with the students, contributing all  of her heart and soul. Being her friend has been a joy, she is a calm and peaceful soul...

Now it is time to be forged and polished in the fire. Each of these women leaving a career that has been defining to move to something new. My mom, hoping to travel and garden,  hoping for the polishing to focus the desire to help and teach towards a new and exciting direction. Finding peace for her soul in her garden. Packing a fifth wheel, reading by the lake, spending time...reflecting. My colleague has plans of spending time with her two beautiful grandchildren, volunteering at the older one's school, spending time with friends and family. Each woman will be polished by the fire...flames changing their inner selves, changing the elements of who they are.

I am ready to be polished by the fire, refined into something new and better, sharpening my edges, strengthening my core. The poison inside that has made me unhappy, being drawn out, leaving something stronger, purer.

The flames refining the being that is inside...

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