The number of things in life that hold it together but are seldom noticed is amazing. They operate in the behind the scenes way to allow us to go on with life in ways that seem almost “expected” to be that way. Little thought is given to the maid at the hotel you last stayed, but certainly you expected the room to be clean and tidy and would mention it if otherwise. Your food at the drive up window, made by people unseen, is right so often that it is taken for granted that it will be again today. That the pastor will have a message and the heat or air conditioning would be on is not even considered by you unless it is out of the normal range. So much is found to be “expected” that to ponder the things we take for granted we might forget our role and what we do as part of that network of labors and results. The actions of the teacher and the CEO, the messenger and the Marine, the plumber and the homeowner, and how each of them needs and counts on the actions of the other. All are a part of the thing called life. We all love the circus but care little for the roustabouts that put up the tents. Or little do we realize that the clown face has a person that is seldom home behind it.
There is another I want to look at, that of sand paper. The parts that make it up and the things that foil its longevity. It is a lowly thing for the most part, and so needed for the application that little else will do. The things that make it up and why there are differences and what they represent.
The paper is of course the backing that holds the other two pieces, the carbide and the matrix. Each has its own intrinsic value and even to some extent window of application. You may be aware that certain sandpaper is black and very fine in the grit, but also can be dunked in water to be used as a “wetsand” application. In that case the paper has to be such that it will not deteriorate when wet. In other cases the grit is so large and abrasive as to be harsh to the touch. This paper needs to be strong enough to stay together through rough handling and rugged treatment. There are some versions that are open and have holes to allow the material to pass through to the back of the paper to keep from fouling the front. When sanding drywall this type is used since there is so much material that is so fine that the grit would be of little use and require frequent cleaning and you would get little accomplished otherwise.
The grit. A crazy thing in itself, the grit is made of anything from sand to diamonds. It is ground up drill bits to special rocks of a specific size for a specific use. There is a whole world of things for what determines which you will use. Determined by their purpose, the grit size and composition will be successful or will mar the surface. Will speed the job up or slow it down. It needs to be known if it will be on a belt sander, or a hand sander, or just used with your finger as the backing. When you use the paper the grit is seldom destroyed by the use. Unless there is a misapplication the grit is harder than the job and it holds its shape and edge while the job is being done. If the paper is smooth after a while then, something else has happened. The matrix has let go and the grit has gone away.
The matrix. In this context the term is for the glue that holds the grit to the paper. The choice of the glue is important as it is the reason that the thing works at all. If the grit is harder than the material and is not worn down with use, then the grit letting go is a reason to use the matrix. So what goes into the choices? Things like cost, life expectancy, choice of options and what they have for value, and the equipment used. So if you are working on a plank for something with a belt sander the glue will need to withstand the heat of a sustained use. If you are sanding on the final coat of varnish on a antique that you refinished, then it will be something that can hold up when wet. Both will have their own set of values and costs and lifespan. It is the Matrix that you will find changes the sandpaper from brown to blue when you are at the store. The red, the blue, and the brown all have a increasing quality grade of grit and glue combination that will hold the pieces together, while the thing that wants to tear them apart is the heat. It is the friction that creates the heat and the heat destroys the holding power of the glue and then the grit goes away. It is the grit that does the work that we want, the rest of the stuff just helps to get the job done. You see, by rubbing paper on the wood is not enough. Nor is rubbing the glue and neither is tossing sand on and rubbing it around. It is the grit that is held by the glue to the paper that is needed. Color is of no value in this case, only the abrasion. It is not enough to be rough, it is needed that you stay together long enough to get the results that you were looking for. At some point along the way the need to assess the job and get a different piece of paper for the job is important, or to get a more refined grit, as the function of the more course piece is completed, we have to stop for a bit and rub the piece to know what to do next.
So what is all of this about? Think of the grit like the words we say. The matrix is the value relationship and the paper is the context. To tell someone they are in need of corrected behavior, the three things are connected, so that communication is completed. That means that they have heard and listened to the message. If they stop listening there is no communicating, only talking. To tell someone that they are going to die or lose their life savings you need to know what type of matrix will hold together through the heat of that conversation. If you use the wrong words, that aren’t strong enough perhaps, the message will lose some of the impact that is required for the moment. When urgency is needed, it is needed. If that action or stridency is not needed but used anyway, there is a coarseness that is going to mar the relationship for a long time.
The ability to use the right words and to stay the course through the heat of pain is what makes good friends good, and great friends great. It has become clear that good is sometimes not good enough.
Popular posts from this blog
In Times Like These “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” or so the poet says. Part of the problem that we confront is that we are new to this part of history, so it feels unknown and scary. When you are confronted with the “unknown” it is called chaos, and out of that comes truth and awareness that is new to you. It is found when a child is taken to meet a new friend and they are wary of all that is new. It isn’t new, really, though it may be to the child or to us. This may be the year of the internet millionaire or the Covid small business death, but it is your year. Alone in the way that it is yours, and yet collective in that many can tell the same story. It is the time of our lives. Your story is simply that, your own. From the beginning of your life through the teaching and experiences that brought you too today, it is specific. Good or bad, long or short. Well-seasoned, with history as perspective or simply the musings of the narcissist absorbed with you
Crucible Why is it always a surprise how hot things get and so quickly? Crisis builds slowly and then all of a sudden it is intense and endless. The story is always the same. Things are simply going the way things go, and then three separate decisions combine and all hell is raging and your hair is on fire. It comes as a surprise, or I would have been prepared. Why am I surprised, again? Friends suck, that is why it hurts. That is why you are not prepared. That is why you were guarded. How then did it happen again? What did you miss, that let them get past the barriers? The heat will not let up, this I know from the last time. Ok, the last several times… Here I am, in the vessel filled with the debris of many bad decisions. Good parts and bad. Broken and whole. The heat will melt it all into a soup that will easily pour into a new mold. First will come the flux that grabs what I thought was important and take it away. It has happened time and again and it is the same eve
On Divorce This is not a complete work, but a few observations. It is not all personal, but it is all true. It is about the parts that move, and the ones that don’t. The issue, at its core, is that of failure. Failure to listen, failure to tell. Failure to hear what is not said, and to do things that drive you to the edge of hope or fear. The church doesn’t know what to do with it. Society doesn’t know what to do with it. Those that are adamant about how correct they are, are the most afraid of it happening to them. Our friends are unclear about what to do with it when it happens. Most of the time it is only a trail of loss and the crumbs of our past strewn along as we go. The rending of the fabric of our relationships and lives is a sound you cannot not remember. You can imagine the lamb that has it's tail docked and has to re-orient its life and adapt to the new reality. No one wins, but some have hope of the pain stopping, and the possibility of
The music It sat there, in the corner. Hasn’t been moved in years. The man that used it is gone, but the memories are still resonating, vivid and clear. I watched him play the accordion and was in awe of the music that he made. The polkas, of course, and the many happy dance tunes. But at times, in the most incredible ways, the tune would become something that would penetrate deeply and with great soul and the curious mix of disconnection. You would wonder “how can that tune come from that machine?” The accordion is not generally a mournful and melancholic machine, and yet there it was. The sound that pulled you in rather than pushed you around the dance floor. The box is curious, and how it came to be is a quirk of history and need and serendipity. It was used on the ships in the days of sail, and languid winds, to pass the time. That version was small and quite limited, but the function was the same. A few buttons on one end, to change the pitch
Personal Pain The transformation of the pain in our life into something that can be processed is quite a challenge. The notion that it can be converted into a power source is not even a thought to most people and if mentioned is a laughable one at best. Pain is to be endured at the least and avoided if possible. Inoculation and hedging against future blows is the road most traveled… Personal pain is a reality of ownership. Not for everyone to know, these are items taken out of their own private box for a very select group. Sometimes it is a group of only one. This is the pain that is scary, sticky, and sometimes not yet congealed into a shape that can be corralled with adjectives. Real and very powerful, this is pain that is a “slow to heal wound”. Like a broken rib or shin splints, the pain is inside and in certain activities debilitating. But the knowledge that it cannot be shared is a wound just as real. This is the boomerang pain. Residual
The purpose of this blog is to send out a piece of writing from time to time, mostly each week. It is a path of randomness (the rabbit trail) and yet is connected to many other parts (the spiderweb). In this case the web is three dimensional (more random connections) and has at times been a place some people have gotten lost trying to follow the trail... I hope you will be fine with having to start over and see if you get the point. Most of these writings are personal, I have never published any, and are simply a framework for you to put your own story into. If you were to print them most are 2 pages or so, so they are a reasonable quick read. That doesn't mean they are simple, just short. While personal, they are not a diary, polemic, or a screed about some political high-horse issue, but then too, neither should the comments be that either. The best part of these is that if any particular one is of little value to you, I am fine with it. Simply come back and see if ther
In the Dark I wrote this as a description of people going through the process of recovery and starting again. We all move through that at our own pace, and can't know the cadence of another. Enjoy. There is a place underwater that the light stops penetrating. It is different depending on the part of the ocean that you go to, but the point of no light is still there. To go to this part of the dark water with a sub and turn on the lights you will find some creatures that thrive in these waters. The individual adaptations will be just that, individual. The types of actions are also very specific. The pictures of these creatures are amazing. To get to a place that is so deep that light is gone is quite of journey. The path to this level requires more than a casual step into a part of life that is not generally frequented. Mostly it is avoided. The parts of this depth that are different is that the pressures are truly phenomenal. The lack of plants and the nee