Of Calloused Hands And Calloused Hearts

'Ped Egg January 11, 20101' photo (c) 2010, Steven Depolo - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

This morning, like every Monday morning I started bright an early at the gym.  Today’s workout, or WOD as it’s called in CrossFit, was a killer for my hands.  We did five rounds of two different exercises.  The first exercise was called a Sumo Deadlift High Pull.  What it entails is lifting the bar and weights from the ground to your chin and back down.  The second workout was called Knees to Elbows.  Basically you hang on a pullup bar and bring your knees up to your elbows.  I say “basically” because I can’t do it…yet.  I call the exercise Knees higher than they were.  It works for me.

We did 20 of the SDHPs and then 20 Knees to Elbows.  That was one round.  We did that for five rounds.

I’ve seen my friends hands after doing a workout with a lot of pullups or whatnot.  They’re hands rip.  If their hands are too soft, hanging and pulling on a bar 100 times can rip them up pretty good.  If they’re too calloused, it can have the same effect.  But until you build up a little bit of a callous, your hands are going to burn and tear and just plain hurt.

I’ve been reading up on how to keep your hands in good shape while doing these workouts.  I’ve found one treatment kit that explains it pretty well.  You need callouses.  But you need to keep you callouses soft.  A callous is basically a thickening of the skin.  To develop callouses, you need to use the area over and over again.  It comes from experience, both good and bad.  Sometimes the skin rips and it can take a long time to heal.  Sometimes while it still hurts, it only hurts for a day or so.

It’s a fine line when it comes to callouses.

With our hearts too.  We want to be vulnerable so people can relate.  We want our hearts to break for injustice.  And it’s easy  if we’re too much of one way or another to get burned out and just let our callouses grow thick to where we can’t feel anything.  And when you can’t feel anything, you can’t feel your heart breaking.

And as much as I hate pain, sometimes I need to feel it.  And sometimes I need to get up and walk away.  It’s hard to know where that line is.  And it’s hard to keep our callouses in check.  If we get them too soft, it’s probably going to hurt a little more.  If they’re too thick, we might not feel it at all.  But when those deep and thick callouses rip off, I think they take longer to heal than those that were taken care of.

I lived with a too-thick calloused heart for years and years.  And when it ripped open, it was painful.  But it also opened to door to new healing.

So think about it today.  In today’s world we’re taught to  harden ourselves up, to protect ourselves from those who may be against us.

Maybe those were sent to us to soften us up again.

And maybe they’ll give us a fresh start.

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  • Michelle Woodman

    Good insights and thoughts for today (and for many tomorrows). Thank you!

  • I have one area in my life where, no matter how hard I try to allow it to heal, it seems remains open, bleeding and dripping. Most of the time, I’m fine, but then, in a moment, it will bubble over.

    If you would pray for me about that, it would be great. I would love to move forward but don’t know how.