March 10, 2014
Would The Real You Please Stand Up?
You want to put that
That was my first reaction when I saw how long that thing was, and then I wondered how thick the gel really could be inside the tiny container on top of it.
I know, I know. You’re tired of hearing about this leg. Humor me a bit while I share with you what God taught me using this ole’ thing. I declare, I've had more spiritual rehab following the wreck than physical rehab.
Since the surgery last month, I've been making the trek to Asuncion about once a week for injections of some sort of thick goo that is supposed to encourage the cartilage inside my knee to regenerate. The shot’s no fun, nor is the soreness afterward, but the worst of it is the trip to and from the doctor’s office. Because this is a pretty delicate procedure, we decided it was best to stick with the doctor we most trust, the one we feel is very capable of pulling it off. That means a long day that includes anywhere from a five- to eight-hour bus ride each way, which has given me a lot of opportunities to catch up on recorded sermons and audiobooks and a whole lot of time to think.
I’ve also found myself answering a lot of “Oh, really?” responses when I explain that I had another surgery. To see me trekking about town, you wouldn’t have known I needed it. About six months ago or so, I mastered the art of controlling my limp, and on a good day, when the humidity level is low and I’m actively concentrating, you wouldn’t even be able to see it. I’d gotten pretty good at walking long distances and could even keep up with the fast walkers in the crowd. Yep, I’d gotten quite adept at hiding the pain and creaking noises going on inside there. And since I don’t tend to wear pants above my knees these days, the scars were quite hidden and most folks forgot I’d ever even had an accident.
Until I needed to climb stairs. Put me under that sort of stress, and I crumple. I take the stairs like a toddler, pulling myself up by the rail and putting both feet on the same step before moving up.
Until I needed to run. My leg’s just fine straight out, or even with a slight bend. But bend it enough to run or even jog, and it couldn’t support my weight. The muscle strength just wasn’t there, and the problems within the joint wouldn’t let me build the muscles to reach that point.
Someone called me fake the other day, which really irked me. They said there was no way I could be so positive about all this junk, no way I could remain upbeat with the stresses I’ve gone through. I kept my cool (fake of me?) even though I wanted to punch my accuser.
I really hope that in terms of this leg and my attitude, I’m not faking anything. I hope that what I portray is what I am deep inside. But the truth is, I could easily fake you out if I wanted to. Can’t we all, for a time at least?
I could walk this walk fast enough to keep up with the best of ‘em. I could talk the talk and come across as someone who’s got it all together—well, if you don’t count my Southern slang, I reckon. I could cover my scars and carefully avoid the things that would bring out my weaknesses. After all, I grew up in this Christian thing. I know all the right words and all the cool moves.
But one day I’ll have to climb higher. One day I’ll have to run.
And when I put myself under those conditions, the real me will come out.
I wrestled with whether to have this last surgery. After all, shouldn't “good enough” be enough? Should I have just been satisfied knowing I didn’t have to use a cane anymore, and that I could control the limp if I worked at it? Shouldn’t I be happy that I’d at least gotten that far, and just leave well enough alone?
Shouldn’t we be satisfied that we can put on the happy face and at least hold it together when folks are looking? Shouldn’t we just be glad we’re not “as bad as she is” or “as obviously messed up” as that next guy?
If I’d left the knee as it was, it would have gotten progressively worse, and one day, I’d be walking (or not) with a lot more pain. I may have ended up back on the cane, and I certainly wouldn’t be achieving my goal of running again.
If we leave our inner hurts and sins alone, they will get progressively worse, and one day, we’ll be carrying even more pain. You may end up debilitated, and you certainly won’t be achieving the goal of running the race with endurance.
So, yeah, it’s a painful to go through the process of having bad stuff removed from deep inside. It’s work to fill the space that remains with things that will cause positive stuff to grow. It’s no fun to travel the road and spend the time necessary to get to the help.
But in the end, do I really want to be fully healed, or do I just want to be perfect my ability to fake it?
…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…. Hebrews 12:1-2
Ever find yourself covering up what's going on inside instead of fixing it? How do you avoid faking it?