It’s been four months now since I had total knee replacement surgery. The entire experience has not been pleasant, but, overall, the recovery has been better than I expected and my knee is doing very well. I’m pleased.
My wife and I have the privilege of getting to spend time with our 4-year old grandson several days during the week while his parents work. He is a high energy boy that also has a sensitive, inquisitive side to him. In essence, I am his playmate. We spend the days building spaceships and buildings, playing ball, hide-n-go-seek, wrestling, fishing, etc. He wants to stay busy every minute. He has observed the process with my recovery from knee surgery… from being almost totally immobile through all the stages to now. The other day, he asked me, “Do you miss your old knee, Grandpa?” I know that he was simply asking me in his own way if my knee was better now than before. He was wondering if I was glad that I had the surgery. But, his question made me think… do I miss that old knee?
In a number of ways, I do miss that old knee… especially when it wasn’t that old. I miss it carrying the “fastest runner in the school” in my youth. I miss the knee that allowed me to catch both games of a doubleheader in the heat of the summer baseball season (in retrospect, maybe that is why the knee wore out in the first place). I miss the knee that I never had to think about because it was always just there, doing its job. I don’t miss the pain that old knee caused during its last few years… the increasingly regular cortisone shots, the struggle to climb even a short flight of stairs, the inability to get it comfortable in bed at night.
You see, each new day brings it own set of good and bad. As with my old knee, each day brought me closer to the day when it would completely fail and need replacement. On the other hand, each day brings us more experience and a step closer to those goals we set for ourselves. It would be nice to have that young, healthy knee back. But, with that knee, I didn’t have these days of fun and enjoyment with my grandson (or my other six grandchildren). With my new knee has come the fulfillment of retiring with the love of my life, being able to travel and enjoy the freedom of summers on the lake.
I view this new knee as a symbol of experience gained, victories won, burdens carried, and progressing to this wonderful chapter of my life. This new almost pain-free knee represents a fresh start… a fresh new outlook on whatever time remains. This new knee still has work to do and I’m thankful that we get to do it together. So, do I miss that old knee? Sure, I miss the good old days with it, but I don’t regret leaving it behind for the new. These are the best of days.
Take a moment today to pause and be thankful for what you have. Do something impulsive. Eat an ice cream cone. Do something crazy. Be intentional and create a memory that your family will be talking about twenty years from now. Lend someone a hand that is in a spiral. Be a light in a dark place. Share a smile, a kind word, or an act of love. Be positive. There are people all around us every day that are struggling with their health. Others are worrying about their children, their finances, or their aging parents. Still others are just disappointed with how things have turned out. Look around for a way to put a smile on someone’s face, a song in their heart, or hope where there seems to be none. Help someone else turn the page on the past and look forward with optimism to tomorrow. We all have the potential to make a difference for someone else, if we’ll just choose to do it.
Have a great day!