Calluses

I was in elementary school when I first discovered the magic of the callus.

I spent an entire recess playing with my friends on the jungle gym, and by the time we returned to the classroom, my palms were blistered and sore.

“That will turn to callus,” my friend assured me.

So call me naive
But I believe you’re gonna be okay
And call me naive
But tomorrow, will be better than today

Sure enough, in a few days, the blisters were covered by hardened skin. Calluses.

It didn’t take me long to realize the power of these calluses. They strengthened me. I could now play longer, swing harder, go further.

And if it’s stupid to see the good in everything
Lord, help me please, help me to be naïve

In seventh grade I learned to play guitar. It was the same concept. I played and I played, and my fingers blistered and cracked.

“That will turn to callous,” my dad assured me.

 Then one day, I played the guitar and my fingers didn’t hurt. One day, the tips of my fingers hardened. They callused over.

It was so empowering. I would play the instrument for hours, just because now I could.

See, I believe
This life is something beautiful and sweet
I believe
That love pulls me to you like gravity

One day, these calluses stopped being physical, and they became emotional.

I developed a “fool me once” mentality. I shut people out after their first strike. I tried to callous myself to every situation that I didn’t enjoy, every person or circumstance that I thought might hurt me.

But then, one day, I fell in love.

And if it’s stupid to see the good in everything
I guess I’ll plead, I’ll plead guilty to being naive

Want to know a secret? Calluses can’t coexist with love.

I love him the only way that anyone can truly love another person- vulnerably.

And one day, this man that I love developed a disease that I hate. One day, our souls were shredded. Our relationship was blistered.

I waited and I waited, but this time the healing process didn’t involve calluses, only scars.

We have so many scars.

And you could say I’m gullible
And I’m blind to all the lies and tragedies
I just think we focus all our time
On the poison and not the remedy

Before Andrew’s cancer metastasized to his lungs, we purchased tickets to an Andy Grammer concert. This concert ended up being the day before Andrew’s surgery to remove the nodules.

We debated on skipping the concert, but ultimately decided, “Eh, why not? We already paid for it.”

We showed up, rather reluctantly, neither of us bought even one drink, and we both agreed that we would leave early if it wasn’t over by 9:00.

So call me naive
Say I’m living in a world of make-believe
And call me naive
But I don’t know another way to be

After the opening acts, we looked toward the stage waiting for Andy Grammer and his band to come on and get the show going, but instead a spotlight shined behind us and there he was in the middle of the crowd, just Andy and his guitar.

And if it’s stupid to see the good in everything
Yeah, if it’s stupid to see the good in everything
I’ll say proudly I’d rather be naïve

He began to sing, you guessed it, Naïve.

I listened, and I was moved, and I thought about the stats against us, about the long week ahead of us, and about the fact, that despite it all, we were at a concert being… normal.

How strange. How optimistic. How… Naive.

This was the first time in my life that I realized it was okay to not be strong, to not always be realistic. It is okay to believe that things will be okay, even when the odds are stacked against you. It’s okay to have faith, to proceed without caution, to make plans even if life might cancel them.

You see, we live in this “spare me pain at all costs” culture, and I embraced that for so long. But that isn’t what life is about.

Life is about surrounding yourself with people whose loss could hurt you- as long as they are worth hurting for.

It’s about loving someone enough that you will take on a portion of the hurt that the world throws at them, and they will do the same for you.

Life is about loving deeply, no matter how gory that blister or how ugly the scars.

It’s about finding those relationships that never need to callous over, and it’s about learning how to hurt with these people.

It’s about allowing yourself to be optimistic, to be naïve, to believe in miracles until the very end.

It’s about celebrating without pause when those miracles happen- and they DO happen.

I’ve been calloused and ‘realistic’, and I’ve been vulnerable and ‘naïve,’ and I’ll always choose the later.

Lyrics: Naive by Andy Grammer


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