I’ve been a resident in Iowa for two winters now. This year’s was the worst in terms of brutal cold, the amount of snow, and crazy weather patterns. I learned more about the weather in the past three months than I have all of my years on earth thus far. I’m adjusting but there have been a handful of new experiences for me—(i.e. my 5 year old battery would NOT start in -55 degree weather; bubbles “deflate” in frigid temperatures, thunder snow IS a thing).
About a month ago, I was driving across the bridge on my way home and all of the sudden, a line began slowly crawling across my windshield. The i-74 bridge is NOT the place you want to be when something is going wrong with your vehicle. I started screaming, “what? no no no! NOOO!” as I helplessly watched the line continue to spread. What in the world?? WHY was my windshield cracking??? Was this an “Iowa” thing???
I have never had a windshield crack before so once I got home I did the most reasonable thing a responsible car owner could do—I googled it. All of the results told me that there is a starting point to any crack and I should try and find that point. I could NOT find it….inside or out. I ran my hand across the windshield multiple times….inside and out, nothing. When the windshield repair person came out to take a look and see if it was fixable, she came inside and said, “I found the point of impact.” She took me outside to see it and it was the smallest little ping I’ve ever seen.
She went on to tell me that this tiny little impact was probably caused by a very small piece of gravel that hit my (very warm on the inside) windshield at just the right speed, velocity, and time to cause the damage that it did. “So is the crack fixable,” I asked? “Well, here’s the complicated part….the original point of impact is in the area of the windshield called the frit….the very bottom black part of any windshield. The way that they are installed means there is so much pressure just from the way windshields work in addition to gravity. Anytime there is a chip or impact in the frit, it basically means it’s unfixable and the entire windshield has to be replaced.” Shocked, I responded, “so you mean something THIS SMALL…something I couldn’t even see, did THIS MUCH damage??”
I went back to my desk and pondered about my new knowledge….about this whole frit thing and how something as tiny as a flake from the road could cause hundreds of dollars worth of damage. Then I realized how each one of us has a “frit” area within us. The place where even the smallest impact of words or actions cause us heavy damage. I have one of those brains that can’t remember where I put my keys, but I can tell you word-for-word and tone-for-tone some of the most hurtful things said to me at age 8. Because they hit me square in the frit.
Even more so, it made me think about how many people are living their daily lives in the frit. Why even the smallest infraction makes someone seemingly explode. They haven’t gotten the help they need to work through deep rooted lies they’ve been told; they haven’t gotten or have refused the opportunity to begin healing; they fear that the things spoken over them, about them or to them are true and they’re just the last ones to admit it.
There’s a verse in Scripture, Proverbs 25:11 that says, “The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry.” How true that proverb has proven itself to be. I want to be person whose words fit on others like custom-made pieces of jewelry. I think Jesus calls His followers to be the kind of people that build-up, encourage, and support those around us rather than the people that cause cracks in frits.
My windshield of course will be replaced and the visual reminder of what winter and tiny pieces of gravel can do will soon be gone. However, I don’t want to lose the object lesson—the tongue is a small thing but what enormous damage it can do!