Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I'm Looking at the Man in the Broken Glass

Ice on the road, a little too much speed, and two massive testaments to the American automobile industry... yes, these are the things that fender benders are made out of. Hopefully plenty of people have avoided wrecking a car in a collision of any kind, but chances are throughout a human lifespan everyone will get into a crash at some point. My record as a driver is personally clean, but one mission car I was connected with has already lost the driver side door (we loaned it to the Zone Leaders!) and I’ve been in the passenger seat during a wreck once upon a time.

Pity... That Car Was Just Days From Retirement

During that earliest debaggle, my sisters and I were just on our way to school on a bit of an icy day. The sun was out and there didn't seem to be any cause for concern, but as we came down a blind hill with a stop sign at the bottom we knew we were in trouble as we first started to slide.

The busy highway formed a T at the end and going even a couple of feet out into it would have put us in a VERY bad situation. Luckily, there was another car waiting at that stop sign at the bottom. With the choice being between going down the fifteen foot embankments on either side of the road, out into the highway, or smack dab into the back of the green Ford Explorer... well, let’s just say we took the fender-bender.

D'you Think That Ding Will Come Outta The Bumper?
 We all had been wearing our seatbelts so we were all fine and we later came to find that the Explorers bumper was a little messed up, but at the time the biggest thing that grabbed my attention was having a lapful of glass from the shattered window. I had expected sharp and dagger like shards to have been flying through the air, but instead all I found it to be was pebble like and not very sharp at all. If it had not been tempered glass though, that small fender-bender could have been dangerous. However, with a little bit of a different smelting method there was no need to worry.

The difference between the regular and tempered glass is in the way it is exposed to different temperatures. Tempered will go from one extreme to the other, allowing it to withstand more pressure and break into its signature pebble shape. Regular glass goes about the same but is allowed to cool on its own terms once it is heated and pressed. Once it breaks, it breaks into hazardous shards.

It Should Be A No-Brainer Which One You Want

We are all like glass in a way. All of us will eventually run into a "fender bender" in our life where things go bad in some way. Up till the point of these accidents though, we are faced with challenges that temper us and make us stronger. The greater variance of experiences we gain, going from one extreme to the other, the more we are able to withstand the pressures of life. We become, "tempered" through our trials which make us better suited to face the challenges of the next day. Even when something comes along that shatters us completely, we do no damage to those around us whom we love or to ourselves as we pick up the pieces and keep moving.

A simple quote comes to my mind in regards to life’s challenges and hardships:
The difference between stepping stones and stumbling blocks is how you use them.
What’s more, there are many references from God to his children throughout the Bible and Book of Mormon telling us trials will help us. My favorite comes in Doctrine and Covenants 90:24:
Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good.
I know that this is the case. That all these things that beat against us are just to help us in the long run. The experience to be able to say, "Yeah... I’ve had worse" alone is sometimes worth whatever pain, sorrow, heartache, damage, or trials that come our way. I know god doesn't give us more then we can handle, and I know that as we come unto him he will grant us additional strength to bear our burdens as often as we ask for it. One last quote I have for this thought is from President Gordon B. Hinckley:
If Life Gets Too Hard To Stand, Kneel

I strive to live by this every day and I know that I have seen it work in my life for my good. I know if we all do it ourselves, we will gain a knowledge and understanding of just how truthful these things are. Promise.

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