The fragility of knees

StockSnap_8F0W9CFQ67I don’t know when or how I hurt my right knee. It’s not horrible, but there are days when YIKES!

I bought a generic knee brace that may or may not be doing any good. But it feels like I’m taking care of myself when I wear it. The knee brace and a steady stream of Advil.

Even first thing in the morning, when my body feels almost new and whole, relatively pain-free and flexible, I prepare myself for those first steps around the end of the bed and take the stairs slowly, a step at a time in anticipation of what might happen. The pain may return and the sluggishness and mincing steps will, once again, take over.

I have a knee-healing plan: When Asher and Audrey go back to school in a couple of weeks, I’ll have a chance to rest my whole self for more than 2 days in a row. My theory is simple: My knee feels good in the morning, so I believe that I just need to give my body time to take care of itself. For it to do the natural work required to repair and strengthen.

But for now, I’ll continue limping about, wearing a questionably-effective knee brace, taking something to keep the swelling down a bit, and resting that leg when I can. Because there is something in there that’s just not quite right.

Unfortunately, hurting your knee or back or foot has a bigger impact than the use of just that knee, back, or foot. Your entire body – top to bottom – shares the weakness and pain.

This hurt knee, the current focus of my attention, looks oddly like what’s happening to our world.

These hurts. They’re not like the BIG hurt of original sin – when Adam and Eve got cocky about their view of the world and their position in it and just ruined it for the rest of us. Not that I’m judging. Just statin’ the facts.

No, I’m talking about a random friendship muscle twist or bad community bruise. Something happened one day when we weren’t paying attention. Or something happened that we did notice, but got run over by something else much bigger that distracted us from the pain and hurt.

See, the way I picture it, the world is the body and our relationships are the parts.

And somewhere along the complicated lines of work, play, controversy, politics, he-said-she-said, red and blue, we experienced a little dent that damaged part of all of us. Our people. Our team. Our tribe. Whatever and whoever keeps us whole. Somebody or something took out our knee.

We go through periods of relative calm. Some days it almost feels like things are healed, or darn close. And then,


One wonky step, false move, false story, mean tweet and there we are. Right back in the same place we were before. Limping, pained, slow to action.


Maybe hurt personally or for our tribe. Maybe hurt for a friend who was targeted. Because when something or someone hurts, the entire body shares the pain.

Maybe we hurt for someone we don’t know who has been marginalized or set apart or dumped on or accused. Someone not welcome. Someone who dares to be different – maybe by choice. Maybe not.

Good golly, Miss Molly. This is not OK. It is not “just the way it is.” Yes, it may happen repeatedly. It may be caused by something over which we have not one ounce of control or influence.

But that doesn’t make it OK. It makes it harder to heal. But it’s not OK to say, “oh well.”

And maybe we don’t have the knee brace that fits. Or we’ve run out of Advil. But this much is true, my lovelies…

  • We always have time and ability to give rest and peace.
  • We always have a way to make someone’s life a little bit better, less painful, stronger. 

This will look and feel different to every person. It may be as simple as resisting the urge to “like” that insulting Tweet. It may mean FB friending someone you find a bit uninspired. It may be walking away from the crummy conversation – or stepping in and saying this isn’t us. It may be including someone in the conversation instead of letting them languish on the sidelines.

Who among us cannot share a meal or a cuppajoe? Can’t we simply ignore what doesn’t matter and listen instead of talk – or shout? How about knowing when to contribute and when to stay out of the way? There are endless ways by which we can all make the world less limp-y, more able, more whole. We all know this.

It may be that we just have to remember the Truth. Some people call it the Essentials, or Bottom Line, or Non-negotiables. Some of you already know mine:

  1. ”Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life.” (John 14:6)
  2. ”Love Jesus with all your heart, mind and strength.” (Mark 12:33)
  3. ”Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:33)

Sometimes we try to make every part of everything the way we like it or wish for it or feel comfortable. Nice, tidy, beautiful, convenient. As if I have a chance in Hades of having long legs or the ability to tan. Or the power to keep the ugliness and controversy out of my world. Nope.

And my knees are never going to be completely like yours. And you’re not going to think like me. Or read the Bible with the same eyes and heart. Or understand the complex and fragile relationship I have with her or him. Or have a ghost of an idea about the length and breadth of the experiences I’ve navigated.

In fact, right now, I’m pretty sure there are people who, behind their forced smiles, don’t really believe that I love Jesus simply because of one thing that stands between us. Something that isn’t the Truth, Essential, Bottom Line, or Non-negotiable.

And those wounds – the ones inflicted by a brother or sister – they seem to hurt the most.

Now, I can make my knees, myself stronger, more resilient, more flexible by bulking up the Truth, Essentials, Bottom Line and Non-negotiables inside. I can make darn sure that I always

  1. believe
  2. love and
  3. love.

And YEY! to anybody who does those things or encourages me to do them. There is a lot less chance of injury to something that is prepared and sturdy.

But let’s think of those who are weak or have some vulnerable spots, those who are already limping, those who have been knocked all the way down. Let’s rally around to give them a safe place and more than two days in a row to get stronger. Let’s get them a brace that fits and all the Advil they need. Even if they aren’t in our tribe.

Because everybody can offer anybody a healing cuppajoe.


When something or someone hurts, the whole body shares the pain.  Click to Tweet


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