14 September, 2006

Engaging God: Rehab

If you've never had reconstructive surgery, let me tell you a little bit about it.

I went for 4 years on a knee without an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL.) No big deal. You only need an ACL if you do one or two specific motions, so I could do everything that I could do before the injury, except sports. That's important to my story. I was not disabled in any way, except in something that I didn't really need anyway. I was working 15 hours a day, and spending my free time with my family and the church - I did not miss sports.

There was nothing wrong with me.

The end of the 4 years came when I got out on the court with a friend's wife just for old time's sake and dislocated my knee. We finally had health insurance, so we could afford for me to get it fixed. I went under the knife, and I came out with a shiny, new ACL.

And 9 months of rehab.

I went in on a Friday, so I could be back at work in Monday. First, though, I had to go to my first rehab appointment. On Friday, I had been able to do anything at all, except sports. On Monday, I could not tense the muscles in my thigh. You're thinking maybe I could not straighten my knee. No. Straightening my knee took a week or two. That first day, I could not even tense the muscles that would some day straighten my knee.

They put four electric probes on my quads, and juiced those muscles - thenthey tensed. Boy, did they EVER tense! It was one of the most frightening things that has ever been done to me. They exploded with their full power, and I really did not believe that they could do that without tearing my patellar tendon. The pain clearly said that I might never walk again.

The muscles obviously could still work, but my brain did not remember how to use them.

Over the ensuing weeks, I re-taught my leg to do 100 things that it had been doing for 34 years. 1 week learning to straighten again. 3 weeks forcing it to bend to 85% again. It took me months to get it to bend 100% again. Months building up straight-line strength. Months teaching it twitch movements, necessary for balance and reaction. Failing at that means rapid reinjury, because the leg cannot protect itself. And every minute of the training painful. The moments not only felt like I was tearing muscle and ligament, but that's exactly what was happening. That's what needed to happen.

5 years later, when I started tennis again (yeah, really I've only been seriously back on the court since the divorce almost 3 years ago,) my right calf was still much smaller than my left.

All that to fix something that nobody besides me had any idea was broken. All that to restore abilities that were not gone before I got the surgery. I could run and jump and lift heavy burdens before the surgery. And after everything was fixed, I couldn't even straighten my leg on a bed any more.

Getting fixed broke everything.


As I sat here tonight, frankly a bit "down," I thought about my spirit.
Pr 18:14
The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?

It occurs to me we are converted by the Lord, and our spirits are made alive, but they are made alive much like my knee was fixed.

We are given a new spirit, and it's a living spirit, but we need to learn how to live with it, and even how to do those things that we used to take for granted. There was nothing mystically different about straightening my leg after I received my a new ACL, but I was forced to learn to do it all over again.

After receiving this new life in Christ, we need to learn how to be happy again, and how to be sad. We need to learn how to think and plan our lives, and how to be impulsive. We need to learn poetry all over again, and math. We used to be able to do all those things, but now we learn to do them all over again - with Him.

2Co 5:17 & 18
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

Ro 14:8
For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.

With corner of our lives, we are the Lord's.

And if it takes years of sweat and pain to "rehab" our spirits, to know Him, yet He is a Pearl worth every drop of sweat my weak will can force from me. My knee was designed to straighten and bend, and my life was meant to be lived with Him.

Lord, build up my spirit. Let me hallow Your Name, and love you with every fiber of my being.


Kansas Bob said...

This is one of the best things I have read lately. This is so insightful:

"Getting fixed broke everything."

That is such a descriptive sentence. I think that it is the heart of sanctification. Learning to live from our hearts is so different than our lifelong habit of living from our heads.

Kansas Bob said...

I liked this so much I linked to it.

Karen said...

You're an awesome minister, CP. I pray that your spirit is lifted up.
Thanks for this post...it's so true. We have to be completely broken, even if we don't think anything is wrong, before we can be fixed.

Milly said...

I get fixing something that only you knew was broken. I didn’t talk about the fact that I could no longer do some things that I loved doing and I had grown accustom to the pain.

It’s neat how you made this a personal journey that we can relate to.

Yep I’m home!