Monday, October 21, 2013

Calluses

Earlier this week, I realized that I was losing the hard-earned calluses on my feet.  Considering that they were created in the places where I got blisters (the side of my left big toe, the ball of my right foot and on the heel of both feet), the process actually looks a little bit like it does when a blister pops and the skin flap comes off, but without the pain/weepiness involved.  Yes, I know, not the prettiest of mental pictures, but just a reality of not walking anymore.  The fact that I'm not doing near the exercise that I was makes me sad, as does the fact that I'm going to have to start all over again once I can actually handle walking more than a mile without pain again (and I'm currently at about .35 miles of running without pain!).  If nothing has brought home to me that I'm really not on the Camino anymore, this has.

Honestly,  getting over tendinitis has greatly restricted my exercising, although I am finally adding this part of my routine back into my days.  I have to say that  I will be incredibly happy when I can get up to 3-4 miles running again, but I'm thinking that it is going to take at least another month of recovery, even with taping up my ankles.  I found this really cool way to tape my feet for the type of tendinitis that I have, and I'm going to be trying it out later this weekend.  Keep your fingers crossed that it helps!


At this point, my goal is to be able to run about 3 miles by the time the beginning of December gets here, although I will be happy if I can run about 2/3 of that plus walk the rest.  I just don't want to lose the level of fitness that I have achieved, but every day that I'm not able to get out there is another day that I will be closer to my sedentary, unmotivated, couch potato self--an iteration of myself that I hope to never see again!!!

Losing my calluses made me think of other calluses I have lost.  You see, playing any kind of stringed instrument will give you calluses on your finger tips, and I spent most of my high school and college years getting and then losing calluses on my fingers, depending on how much I was practicing at the time.  When it comes to instruments, there comes a point when practicing becomes torture until those calluses form, and if you don't grit your teeth and fight through it, you will never develop the calluses you need to be able to play pain-free.

There is also a down side to calluses, though.  The thicker skin means that you don't have as fine of a sense of feeling through the calluses.  It protects you from the rubbing or the pressure, but it also means that you won't feel certain things as easily as you used to either, which made doing things like trying to pick up spilled straight pins more difficult than when I had no calluses.

A picture I drew in my journal while on the Camino.

Life has a way of putting Calluses on our hearts as well--those places where life or our own sin rubs or chafes us.  Before my Camino, my heart had a lot of calluses: my former daily life required that I protect myself just to get through the day.  In the Bible, this process of gaining calluses on our souls is often described as hardening our hearts, or that our hearts had become hearts of stone rather than hearts of flesh.  Walking the Camino began working on those calluses on my heart, softening them like a long soak in the tub softens calluses on the skin: you can now attack them with a pumice stone!  The Lord was scraping away on the hard places of my heart in order to expose tender, new flesh underneath. He's not done yet, but I'm closer to the tenderhearted person I used to be, and that, too, is part of the healing process.  I don't relish the process, but I like the result.  May the Lord help us all to lose the calluses on our hearts!