I was born with wonky knees that make them more vulnerable to injury. There are certain activities that I just can't do. I've learned to manage. But 7 years ago I was walking across the yard, minding my own business when my left knee was t-boned by a couple of roughhousing dogs. My knee traveled east while the rest of me was still headed north. With great pain and gnashing of teeth I hobbled into to the orthopedic walk-in clinic (poorly named, I say) and commenced on a months long journey to recovery, which ultimately included surgery to "clean up the mess." My knee has never been the same.
Oh, sure. I can do most things as before, but at times of excessive use or undue stress or maybe just the weather, my knee will again give me fits. It seems to be even more vulnerable to knee injury. More in need of care. There are times I hate my knee. It makes me feel weak. Old. Limited. Right now it is even a bit swollen. I know it needs an extra level of care, more physical therapy, and maybe more intervention. The way my knee was created coupled with the past injury mean that my left knee may never be as whole as my right. There may always be times when I hurt. Or limp.
My insides aren't so different. I was created a bit wonky. Perhaps more sensitve than most. More prone to anxiety, depression, and the fluctuations of the emotional weather. More vulnerable to injury. And during times of emotional heavy lifting or undue stress, I feel the weight of the world and the weight of my own insecurities and insufficiencies all the more keenly. And even though I have done hard work toward healing, sometimes the pain comes through. I suppose there may always be times when I hurt. Or limp.
I know that healing never goes in a straight line or trajectory of success upon success. I know that the road forward can be sickening because, like Interstate 40 through the Pigeon River Gorge, you can be headed eastbound and find yourself facing west and south and north on a dizzying ride that is anything but linear.
I know that life is less like an escalater and more like a spiral staircase, where you pass by the same things over and over again, each time, hopefully, with more wisdom and insight than before.
But sometimes when you touch on those tender spots again...and again...and yet again...it still hurts.
Recently those tender spots have been screaming out. Those old insecurities, so imbedded in my story, have been gone over with a neon colored hilighter, so bright I need a pair of sunglasses. Why? I don't know. Exhaustion? Overuse?
I'm comparing my knee to someone else's. I'm comparing my skills, my competence, my strength, my backbone, my energy, everything about who I am and my value in this world...
As I write this, my knee throbs. I know it needs extra care. My insides throb as well. May I give them the tenderness and attention that I give my knee.