Pillow Hands

In our church, the blue collar guys refer to the white collar guys as “pillow hands”.  It’s with a bit of a smile and a laugh, but there is a kernel of truth in the degrading name: our hands are soft.  They don’t do much hard work.

There were five guys from our church, working together one morning pounding in fence posts for a new third baseline fence at the little league park across from our church.  Two blue collar, three pillow hands.  It was all manual labor, and we all took our turns on the fence hammer.  15 posts.  My hands hurt.

I started fine.  The work was exhilirating, if jarring.  We were using a fence hammer which is basically a section of steel pipe that fits over the fence pipe, with two bent, rebar handles welded on the side, and a cap welded on the top.  You would slide the hammer up (but not too far), and then ram it down, the inside of the cap slamming into the top of the fence post.   It was at about post #7 that my hands started having a hard time holding on to the bent, rebar handles.  They were sliding instead of holding.  I thought I had sweaty hands – it turned out they were bloody.  I had apparently developed blisters on my pillow hands, and on post #7, my blisters burst and my hands bled.

I could have taken the opportunity to bow out, and become the cheerleader for the blue-collar guys (and remaining pillow-hands), admitting my inadequacy.  Instead, I just had a friend cut off the loose flaps of skin with my pocketknife, and kept taking my turn on the fence hammer…and smiled.  I had to adjust my handhold, but I would not let the job beat me, I would not quit because of a little discomfort, I would not be shamed by the rebellion of my own hands…it would instead become my glory.

All 15 posts submitted to our work.  All 5 guys were tired and sore.  All three pillow hands had blisters form, pop, bleed and get cut off…only to continue the work, smiling.

In life there are times when we can make excuses (even legitimate ones) and bow out of the fight, but it is at precisely those times when we can choose glory over comfort.

We can spend our lives making excuses, and making those around us have to work all the harder; or we can spend our lives making a difference.

My Grandad has a saying on his desk.  It said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”.  Which will you choose, to step back or to step up?

Pick up your cross.  Put a smile on your face.  It’s time to get some work done.

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