In this world man must either be anvil or hammer.

~Henry W. Longfellow

Now I adore Mr. Longfellow and have ever since grade 11 when my English teacher introduced us to the genre of Romantic Literature. Loved it so much in fact that I studied it again in University.

Still, I came across this rather famous quote the other day and had a bit of a thought bubble freaking explode over my head.

I mean, I get what he's saying here.

The hammer is the tool used to strike whatever is being created at the time. An anvil is meant to bear the brunt of the hammer, to transfer the energy of the strike to whatever is being forged.

Both are important and needed. There is quite a few who mention the two in speeches and quotes because these tools were really important in humanity’s history.

Edwin Markham is quoted as saying “For all your days be prepared, and meet them ever alike. When you are the anvils, bear - when you are the hammer, strike.”

We heard from Emily Dickenson that “It is better to be the hammer than the anvil.”

What I noticed missing from this lovely metaphor - what is being forged. And yet that is rarely mentioned.

They all believe you are either the hammer-the one striking; or the anvil the one being acted upon. I think they may have missed something. A different option.

At some point you can also liken all of humanity as the steel being forged and shaped can you not?

Let's face it we are always changing, getting tempered as the steel does by life's lessons and changes. We are being acted upon by external and internal forces as the hammer does to the steel.

What do you think? Are you an Anvil, Hammer or something more being forged by the trials and joys of life?  And just what are you becoming?