Purple and apricot iris

Feeble knees

Water sports. This might not be something we think of as we approach the winter holidays, but I found myself yesterday telling the story of how I broke my leg.

It was Memorial Day four years ago, a day traditionally associated with the start of summer. A full day off from a job that required 70 hours a week was going to be pure joy! So I started the day early, getting ready for my favorite recreational activity…gardening.

Yes, yes; I’m coming to the part with the water. The ground was becoming hard as the summer was about to begin, with scant rain for the past two weeks. If you want to dig in the dirt, the soil structure has to be within a certain moisture level.

I turned on the water spigot and began with the delicate apricot-colored irises just ten feet away. There was a low spot in the lawn where I was walking, and my ankle turned — and snapped. I went down.

Refusing to acknowledge that the injuries were serious, I borrowed a boot from a friend to keep my ankle stable, and kept it elevated for a day.

Water sports can be hazardous!

What prompted me to tell this story on a cold November day?

I have a tight circle of a few friends with disabilities who also love gardening. One of them is in dire need of some help right now, and others are under the weather or out of state. That makes me the strongest link, even with chronic migraines and multiple tasks to accomplish before Thanksgiving came.

One of my friends protested, out of concern for my own health. She was worried that I was stretching myself too thin.

When I had finally decided that my right knee and left ankle left me literally without a leg to stand on, I went to a doctor. I told her that the purple and swollen ankle was my “good leg,” that the knee that was also painfully swollen was problematic even in the best of times.

Her answer was not welcome, as she injected my “bad” knee with a cortisone shot. “This is now your ‘good’ leg. The kneecap is dislocated, but the bone is broken in your other leg.” She told me to stay off my feet as much as possible, but use the leg with the swollen knee when I do walk with crutches.

In six weeks, the day came to remove the boot, now replaced by one that fit me better. The bones had separated even farther apart! The new doctor apologized for not looking into my concerns about extreme pain, and put me into a hard cast. Meanwhile, that knee was back to normal. Well, more like “abnormal,” but it was no longer swollen. The doctor had been right.

Many times we don’t feel like we have the emotional or physical stamina to do the things that need to be done for Christ and His kingdom. We tend to wait for another person to come along and step up to do the job.

In a physical body, there are only two legs. When both of them are sore, one has to choose the best option, not the ideal option.

In a church or community, it is the same. It’s easy to decline a task because we feel inadequate or not perfect for the job. It may turn out that you are not just the only choice, but in fact the best choice.

“Strengthen the weak hands,
And make firm the feeble knees” (Isaiah 35:3, NKJV).

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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