Okay young people, here's a question for you. What is a whetstone?
Of course I gave you a clue by running the attached photo of two near 100-year-old whetstones used by my father to sharpen his barbering scissors and razors some 60 and 70 years ago. I'm not sure if many barbers sharpen their own tools today, straight razors being almost a thing of the past..
Though it is sometimes mistaken as a reference to the water often used to lubricate such stones, the word "whetstone" is a compound word formed with the word "whet", which means to sharpen a blade, not the word "wet"..
Whetstones are almost as old as time itself. History tells us that ancient warriors of contending armies would retire to sharpen their swords for renewed combat, after they had blunted them so much in hewing down their enemies as to render them unserviceable. Large stones or boulders that show signs of wear on all sides, have been found close to battle grounds giving evidence of not just soldiers but whole communities shapening, or edging, tools there..
Brutal hand-to-hand combat by sword was a terrible thing and one shutters to think or how those old warriors who lived in strife and contention would take such trouble to sharpen their swords in order to inflict human injury and death over and over again..
I've been thinking about whetstones for some unknown reason and it occurs to me that metaphorically we should look more closely to our own sharpening devices where we may rub up and renew our affections toward others. Unlike those soldiers hundreds of years ago, we can "put an edge" to our zeal for life and sharpen our desires and convictions after every good word and deed..
Is it too dull an idea to suggest that the old whetstone still has application in our lives today?