Cast in iron

I have two cast iron skillets – one 10-inch and the other 12-inch. The smaller of the two was a gift from my mother when I got married. It wasn’t new when I received it, it was passed on to me.

I use one or the other almost daily. Each has a lovely patina, making them practically non-stick. It wasn’t without having to put them through a long seasoning process though.

The skillets got slathered in shortening and baked at very high temperatures for hours to build up that thick, black coating that repels whatever I put them through. Each time they go through the fire, the stronger their “armor.”

This got me thinking about how people, over time, can build up defenses – like a patina – against adversity. The more challenges we have, the more we are figuratively “put through the fire,” the thicker our skin becomes, the more controversy and misfortunes we can let slide. Each time a little more seasoned, a little more impervious to any thing that can hurt us.

My youngest child, my son, is moving out very soon. My baby is flying the nest.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been sorting through household items that he’ll take with him. The first thing he asked for, and what I wanted to pass on to him, was that small cast iron skillet.

Like the pan, he has gone through his share of fires, and each time made him a little stronger. He remains a kind and compassionate person, and hasn’t let his hardship wear him down.

He is cast iron, and his patina is beautiful.

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