I find myself writing with hands that ache with strain. The unfortunate truth of necessity is that these hands have been gripped for too long without compensation. My ankles, too, are swollen to the size of apples. I find myself wondering, how many sons of the earth find themselves in similar straits? I call out to the ditch-diggers; I call out to the gravediggers, now. Stand up and be counted.
We grip the shovel. We move the earth. What other man can say that? I've heard their talk. They think that somehow we are less than them. What they fear is a level playing field. I have found respect in the field of administration. I have found respect on the field of war. Here, though, where all men are equal, I have found my home. It is right that we should sweat. It is right that we should ache. Men were not meant to be surrounded by solid walls or to have our blazing star shielded by plaster or wood.
There is a large blister at the base of the thumb on my left hand that is covered with a callous from time to time. It has a twin on the palm of my right. Occasionally, one is torn open, or the other. At times, both open at once to weep across my palms. It's usually only water, but some days it is blood. I feel a connection with Jesus then, but it is brief. His palms bled only once. Men who dig and sweat beneath a clear blue sky have no need of a saviour... and only the sun can send us to Hell.