Right knee: arthritis, torn ACL (reconstructed 1995)
Left knee: torn ACL, torn medial meniscus
Great right toe: amputated 2007
Not a very good resume for someone who likes to run, is it?
But I do, anyway.
“Are you sure it’s the left knee you are here for?” the orthopedic intern had asked. He held x-rays of both my knees in his hand.
“Yes, I’m sure.”
“The right knee doesn’t bother you?”
“”Welllll, it does. I just run through it.”
Long pause. “Hmmmm,“ he said. “Let’s see what the doctor says.”
My orthopedist came in. He shook my hand.
“I remember you,” he said. “You’re the one who came to me with a torn medial meniscus years ago and decided not to do what I recommended.”
“Yep, that’s me.”
“Now what’s going on?”
I told him I thought I had torn my left ACL on a hike.
“X-rays don’t show ligaments,” he said, but his examination revealed what I suspected.
“Why would you come to see me again, since you’re not likely to do what I recommend this time either?” he asked. His gaze was piercing.
I entertained the fleeting thought that perhaps he and my husband had conversed before my appointment.
”Why are you going in if you’re not going to do what the doctor says you should do?” Brian had asked the night before.
Am I really that transparent?
“Is the recovery for a reconstructed ACL still 18 months?” I asked the doctor.
“Yes,” he said.
“No running, no swimming, nothing for a year and a half?”
“Been there. No desire to repeat.”
He smiled, looked at the notes the intake nurse had written, glanced at the x-rays again.
“The right knee doesn’t bother you?” he asked.
(It seemed like I had heard that somewhere before….)
“You ran after you fell?” he continued. Eyebrow up. Way up.
“I gave the knee about two weeks,” I answered sheepishly. “It loosened up after a couple of miles.”
He looked at me like I was crazy. Maybe I am.
“Hmmm,” he said.
I felt like I needed to fill the uncomfortable bit of silence that followed his ‘hmmm.’
“It’s a God thing,” I replied.
He smiled. “Well, praises to Him, then.”
I liked his answer.
“Some people do okay without an ACL,” he began. I felt a tiny seed of hope sprout with a miniature leaf in the fertile soil of my stubborn spirit.
“I wouldn’t suggest you take up soccer, but you may do alright with straight line running, on smooth surfaces.”
“Keep in mind you now have two torn ligaments in the left knee. If you find that the daily twists and turns of life make your knee weak and unstable, come back to me. I’ll do my best to fix it.”
As he walked out, to go on to his next, less hard-headed patient, he called over his shoulder, “Run your legs off.”
That’s exactly what I wanted to hear.
I started running seriously in 2007. Before that, my thing was strength training. Running didn’t work for me then. Imagine a brick with legs.
God showed me through a series of events, though, that working out was an addiction, a chain, an idol. It was what I woke up for, what my day revolved around. I couldn’t go on vacation without seeking a place to work out. Working in a gym and working out were my life, because for a long time, life wasn’t what I wanted it to be.
Even after a broken road, a rescue, and a time of blessing, my relationship with God was not what it was designed to be. He was waiting for me.
After a bout with illness, I started to run. Not to repeat the same mistake I made with working out, but just to overcome, I told myself.
When I started running, in early April, almost 11 years ago, I didn’t know that every mile would hold a lesson from God. Neither did I know that running would become a special time of prayer, praise and heart to heart conversations with the Lord, my Jesus, who loved me so much He would do whatever it took to draw me close.
Is there something in your life that seems torn beyond repair? Seek the Master Craftsman; the one who made you for Himself.
Our lives can be “torn” for so many reasons. Sometimes, things happen just because we live in a fallen world, guaranteed for trouble. Often, the rips occur as consequence to our choices, or choices others make. We experience tears in the fabric of life that make us unstable and weak. The Bible teaches that God allows hardship, because He knows we may not seek Him otherwise. Sometimes, He allows hardship because the faith we exhibit, in the darkness, will shine that much brighter, drawing others to know Him.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but God has them all. He loves you. He wants your heart. He died for your soul. He wants to reconstruct the pieces. Give Him the torn bits and trust Him. Read His word. Seek out a believer you trust to talk and pray with. Ask God to guide your foot strikes. He will.
Expect results; but know although He can do instant miracles, He may choose a slower process. Sometimes, the tear remains so that all can see what we do is not because of our strength, but because of His. It is through THOSE torn pieces that others see His light and all the beautiful colors that make it up.
Consider this: stars are in the sky all the time. We see them at night because the sky is dark. When life is torn and dark, will you still shine your light for Him? It will be most visible then.
Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)
“For you are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on a stand so that it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”