My recently repaired right knee, still tender and stiff from surgery in late June, went from being my weakest link to one of my strongest links, just like that. How did that happen? I didn’t actually increase its capacity or flexibility. I didn’t do any hyper-effective leg workouts that transformed overnight. I didn’t get a visit from the knee fairy who tapped me with her wand.
What happened was, I was crawling around on the floor of Katie’s house in Mansfield trying to find a graceful way to stand up without putting my knees down. I didn’t fall. I was on the floor on purpose so I could do rehab exercises with 5-year-old granddaughter Madden. I could’ve, maybe should’ve, called for help, but part of rehab is learning how to do stuff, and I was determined to get up on my own. I knew this wouldn’t be my last time down on the floor. I needed to learn new techniques.
Finally, I gave up and put my right knee on the floor with full body weight and stood up. It was amazing. It was easier than I’d expected.
The thing is, only three days before, I was babying that same knee and I would never have pushed off the floor with it like I did. It was too weak and too sore, and I was too nervous and afraid. But now, after having the left knee worked on, what was once my bad knee became my good knee, and what had been my good knee (although not that good) became my bad knee. What was weakest became strongest, just like that. It was instant phase change.
Most of life’s changes take months or years. As in training for a marathon, or learning to speak French, or graduating from engineering school.
But some phases change in the blink of an eye. For example, in 1970, Apollo 13’s mission changed in one moment. In 2001, the future of the United States change in one Tuesday morning in September. In 2010, I changed from goofy fun-loving dad to patriarch, with the birth of one granddaughter.
And now, in 2015, my right knee went from weak to strong. It went from being the dependent leg to being the supporting leg. Why? Not because it literally gained strength, but because its role changed.
And since I was forced to depend on my right leg more and more, even before it was ready, it actually did get physically stronger. The process was self-fulfilling; being used added strength.
Of course, I wouldn’t write about this if it was just about knees. It’s really about us.
How do we get stronger? We change our place in community – become supporters instead of dependers. Changing places makes us stronger.
Spiritual leadership is not about being the smartest, boldest, or strongest on the room. It is about being the most loving. It is about serving. About giving yourself away every day.
What to be stronger? Find a new role. Serve others more.
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32