Tuesday, November 13, 2012

stupid knee

I actually don't want to write about my knee, but I will.

I quit running because I became too dependent on my daily run, perhaps more dependent on my daily run than I was on the God who gave me legs to run. But I mostly quit running because an ignored, likely mistreated, as-yet-un-officially-diagnosed knee injury ground my running to a halt. I have run through numerous injuries in the past. And I ran through this knee twinge at first and then I got angry and cried a lot because going slow and cutting miles didn't help and I didn't want to do what I sensed I needed to do all along: quit.

Not forever, but for a time. Or maybe forever. I don't know.

I spend a lot of my time thinking about my knee. I get tired of thinking about my knee. And I get tired of physical therapy that yields little progress. On Sunday I am getting a second opinion from another physical therapist but I am expecting much the same response as the first. The joint itself has little physical pain except when swollen and even then, minimal; but it swells every week or week and a half for three to five days, a frustrating cycle. It's a knee alignment issue. Okay. But my inner quad muscles aren't getting strong enough fast enough to pull the kneecap into proper alignment.

I also pray about my knee. I hope it heals. I also pray that I just endure this injury with a measure of grace. I still get angry and cry because I physically ache for a long run and all that heat and sweat.

You can put this into perspective for me: some people have no legs or cancer or live in the middle of a war or had a mother die when they were young or just lost a house. And I am upset because I cannot run or squat to help my toddler put his shoes on. I put this knee injury in perspective for myself all the time. I think of all the things I am grateful for: I can walk, my knee isn't causing me debilitating pain, I can still play with my kids. But I am still snagged by the thing I cannot have right now: running.

I miss it too much.

Lousy indoor treadmill running. I actually miss that.

A few weeks ago at church, we were singing and a couple asked Justin if I was experiencing right knee pain. God was telling them to pray for me. Since February I have been praying that this stupid knee just heal: praying for wisdom in treatment, that the physical therapy build muscular strength, that no lasting joint damage result.

I know I shouldn't call it my stupid knee. When I am frustrated and angry, I call it stupid. Sometimes I say other, meaner, totally ungrateful things too. And I know I shouldn't.

So when this woman asked if she could pray for me knee, I nodded and started crying because it is startling for a woman you have not met to know that your knee needs healing. Here's the thing: it isn't healed yet. It didn't happen like on a televangelist show. But I hope it will heal.  

So tied up with this knee thing is an internal dialogue about how big God is and does he heal in New Testament Jesus ways? He does. But my knee still swells. I am not running. I am not particularly joyful sacrificing running. I nibble at doubt and reach for hope. My knee injury has prompted a marquee of questions: am I really hoping? is it because I am doubting? what do I have to do to be healed? do I need to phrase my prayer differently? isn't it about grace? why can't I be content? what else do I depend on more than God? how do I know it's Him I hear? when will I get it? when will I get His love for me? when will I understand what that love is? why can't that love be healing my knee? can I say I believe He will heal? are faith healings real? really real? then why isn't my knee healed?

Gets to be a fun mess. The uncertainty and tentative hope is excruciating. Learning to live beyond such momentary light affliction because it is just that: momentary and light. And being humbled to see just how little I know of how my life is ordered. I want the long view. I want to know the growth from this. I want to know if I am healed, if I run again. And I sense God simply saying to wait.

So I will see a new physical therapist on Sunday and hear what he has to say, perhaps take a different treatment approach. And I will keep praying. And I will wait.


Steve said...

A lot of questions. I get this side to you. I understand your frustrations and stuff, and all your questions.

This is a post I wish I had these great things to say to you, and I don't.

I am here though, and hope that helps a bit. :)

Kristine Webster said...

Not as a perspective or comparison, but as a commiseration and prayer request -

Take all those questions and doubts, apply them to beingle single at mid-30, and then triple them. Now add doubts about not being physically fit and potentially unattractive to a SLEW of people. Now add an entire layer of all the garbage everyone around you has said about it. Welcome to my mind. It is a little crazier than most.

I can empathize with the constant questions and wonderings about something that should be so simple and easy for God to do. I get it. That's all I wanted to say.