Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Can't Do Attitude

Every person has a number of things they can't do. Some may be subject to change. I can't play the guitar, but if I put the hours into it that my son, Sam, is doing, then I probably could play. Others aren't. I will not set the world record in high jump. Maybe I had a shot at it 40 years ago, but no amount of mental fortitude and hard training will put me over a 7 foot high bar without major mechanical assistance.

Up until a few years ago, I pretty much took it for granted that I could walk and probably always would until I was a genuine little old man in a nursing home. Now that is not a for sure. Minor knee surgery has caused my knee to complain to me in a major way, using pain as the primary means of communication. Major knee surgery is scheduled for June 11. Well, it is not so much knee surgery as knee removal. My leg will be sliced open and my knee joint will be sawn out with some very expensive bone working equipment by a highly paid carpenter. A state of the art steel and plastic knee will be pounded and glued into the empty spot. If all goes well, I will walk pain free (more or less) once again. Given the trouble I am having after relatively minor arthroscopic surgery (two weeks at home and counting), perhaps you will forgive me if I remind myself that one or two times out of a hundred, knee replacement surgery fails one way or another.

Were I to suffer that fate, I would have to develop a can't do attitude. There are certain things I just wouldn't be able to do, just as I can't go for a walk in the park right now while I convalesce in a opioid haze from the minor surgery.

The admonition to adopt a "can do" attitude is fine with me as long as it is not a form of foolish denial. What I can do is find alternatives to jumping 7 feet in the air or benchpressing 700 lbs. I can find ways to love and serve others in some new way, each time I lose access to one of the established ways.

I remember when my best friend taught my youngest son to ride a bike. Perhaps a diet, some intense training and therapy, and a ready supply of Advil would have enabled me to make it through one more bike training session. Running on a gimpy knee. Aching back bent over an ample belly.
Or maybe Sam would have had to wait on the bike thing until he could teach himself. I thank God for the people who can do what I can't do. I hope he will enable me to see the many ways that I can do things for others.
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