Look! I made a meme!
Ask me how I know this! And since 99% of the time I play a 12-string, where most guitar-players have one indentation per fingertip, I get to have two!
So, right, forget the diamonds; for me, calluses are a girl’s best friend, at least they have been since I was about 15 years old, when I semi-attached myself to my dad’s 12-string guitar. And I can sure tell when I haven’t been giving enough attention to “toughening up the tips”. It takes pretty consistent pressure and friction so I can not only press hard enough on the string to make the right sound, but play long enough to keep the sound coming. A gradual increase of pressure and friction brings the inevitable deepening of the toughness and effectiveness of the callus. Typically, I don’t like the “no pain, no gain” mantra as it can get out of hand, but the reality is, anything of quality takes some kind of sacrifice.
In our world of sophisticated softness, calluses get a bum rap. I guess some product are even manufactured to remove calluses from the feet, which makes absolutely no sense to me. (Hobbits got that one right!) Even in the world of analogies and similitudes, where I seem to live and breathe and have my being, calluses are looked upon as an evil thing: a callused heart, and callused mind, and so forth.
But hold on! Some toughness is also a necessary thing for survival! Here’s how the Apostle Paul sees it:
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed…Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies.”
But, according the Paul, who had an intimate acquaintance with suffering, this spiritual and mental toughness served an even greater purpose:
“So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you…We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory…That is why we never give up.”
Then he gives a pretty good tip on how to keep those calluses nice and hard:
“So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
So I can see life like it’s beating me down, or like it’s deepening the callus for greater effective service. For the song must go on!
2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 11-12, 14-16, 18 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.