There is a stone so hard that it can only be scratched with another of its kind, a stone so dense that it slows the speed of light by almost two thirds. This stone is cold to the touch because it draws heat from the bearer’s fingers. Its story is one of great resilience for it was created from carbon under titanic pressure and enormous heat deep underground when the Earth was young. Until it rode up to the surface, covered in dirt, layered with soot, its innards hardly visible.
In the rough, it can be easily mistaken for an ordinary rock. Its sharp, uneven edges may hurt and yet, it can also shatter if struck in the wrong place. Until it reaches the hands of a master cutter whose gentle touch persuades it to open up, slowly revealing its core.
With unwavering patience, the master cutter starts removing the imperfections and shaping this stone into a new form, looking for the diamond hidden inside and crafting it into a polished gem. Once the process is complete, the unearthed precious stone can both reflect light from its surface and emit it from its heart.
Gradually, steadily, the master polisher gives the stone a smooth, more refined texture. And the stone takes in only that which makes it stronger. No matter the original size, the transformed gem now brings out approving smiles from those around. To their eyes, it has even become bigger and they want to follow in its footsteps, dissipating the cold and serving as beacons wherever they go.
Great men that lived among us went through similar processes, sometimes even groping around in the darkness. But one thing was certain: they wouldn’t budge an inch from the course they had set for themselves. And they worked and they toiled towards the realization of their objectives, turning criticism into a springboard for improvement, setbacks into stepping stones, hardships into growth opportunities.
Beethoven, for instance, wrote his Ninth Symphony when he was completely deaf. And not only did he do that but he topped it off with the Ode to Joy. Or Michelangelo, who carved his David out of a block of cracked marble that other sculptors had deemed refuse matter, bequeathing the world with its everlasting beauty. Once we saw through a glass, darkly, but these and other great men have shed light on the path and removed the rubble for those coming from behind.
The master polisher recognizes every stone ever touched. With genuine dedication, the master’s skilled hands and artistry bring the best out of the many-faceted gems before they take their separate ways. And still, stone-lore has it that however much apart, however big or small, they are filled with a deep longing for reunion. Because the closer together, the brighter their colors.