My mom carries strong genes. She’s a pretty awesome lady so it isn’t too bad to get her genes. I share in her olive skin, strength, facial features and I’ve tried my best to keep up with her easy intelligence and natural lightness. I also share her callouses.
I’ve always had calloused feet. The kind of feet that make shoes optional because my heels are about as tough as a normal sole.The kind of heels that grow so thick they crack. So I grew up seeing my mom, “shave her feet”. I’d say, “think ped-egg”, but they aren’t quite strong enough, so instead she used a one blade callus razor to shave off the thick dead skin. Gross. Until well, I found my own feet burning because of the built up pressure and realized it would be the best if I did so too. Well, still gross.
I still “shave my feet” (which, by the way, is just an unfortunate phrase) every time the pressure gets to be too much. Following, the soles of my feet, now at a normal thickness and exposed to the world for the first time, burn for 2 days straight. Shoes needed. Until the burning subsides, and for some weeks I have feet that operate as they should.
To recap, I need to remove the callous because my feet burn and then removing the callous makes them burn more but if I go through that, then, everything is right in the world.
This isn’t the only context I’ve gone through this process. I’ve let my heart callous too, hardening up and pulling away, because for a while it’s easier. For a while, building up a thick wall lets you avoid more pain. That wall disguises itself as something that protects you, the same way I could walk on rocks or legos and be just fine. Still, at some point, without you even really noticing, the pressure gets to be too much. You need to expose what’s underneath, what’s raw and real. That process hurts but any time I gain what’s needed to cut through the callous and expose what’s real, I end up feeling comforted and more whole.
I’ve seen a lot of hard-hearts here. I’ve seen even more people here willing to cut through that tough callous and expose their softness. It’s a transformative process.
God, I ask that you uncallous our hearts. Help us to understand “covering up” is not protective but harmful. Help us to know we are able to get through the hard work of healing, because you will be there with us. Help us turn towards you. Help us be real because that other crap, that crap we let build up, just ends up hurting us.
At Shechem, I imagine there will be a lot of people who are freed of the callouses they’ve kept and that is what I’m excited about. God, I ask that you welcome people into that with open arms.