A long time ago I was a framing carpenter… a nail driver. I used what we called a rig axe, a 28-ounce axe head on an 18-inch hickory handle. The hammer end on that axe had a corrugated head, a waffle pattern cut into it. The squares of the pattern came to sharp points to grip the nails better. Here’s a picture of one.

After swinging that axe all day my forearm muscles would be so tired that I’d lose my grip. I’d rub pine sap on the handle to make it sticky, so it didn’t go flying out of my hand on the back-swing.

Toward the end of the day, when my grip was just about gone, I’d occasionally hit the big knuckle of my middle finger while getting a nail started.  The sharp points on that corrugated head would rip the flesh of my knuckle and I’d start bleeding. I’d have to stop and put on a band-aid.

But after a few months on the job, I’d hit that middle finger so many times that it didn’t bleed any more. There was so much scar tissue built up in that spot that when I did hit it, those sharp points wouldn’t make me bleed. The blow would do some damage, but not much. That dead tissue was a lot tougher than the skin it had replaced.

On Friday, we experienced another unthinkable tragedy in this country.

My heart has been hit again. Hard.

I’m not made of granite.  It hurts. Tender flesh has been torn away, and I am bleeding. But I don’t want those sharp points of tragedy that rip away at my heart to ever build up so much scar tissue that I don’t feel it any more.

I don’t ever want to become so callous that I don’t bleed.