I will have to learn how to walk all over again. Well, not completely from scratch. I can still move down the sidewalk on both feet with very little conscious thought, but I still have a hobble in my step, a limp. I still walk like a combination of Granny Clampett (from the Beverly Hillbillies) an Uncle Joe Carson (from Petticoat Junction). I still walk like I did before having my knees fixed.
My knee problems began in 2004, which means I have an entrenched, 11-year muscle memory for walking with a limp, for walking without bending my knees, for hobbling from side to side.
Just because I have new mechanical knees, and so far they are working great and making me very happy, doesn’t mean I have new muscles or new neurons.
I’m writing about this because just two days ago I noticed myself limping down the hallway in my office, not from surgery, but from habit. I wasn’t happy to have a persistent limp I didn’t need and didn’t want. I was compensating for something that no longer existed.
Is it possible to live so long in injury that our bodies forget how to live without it? Is it possible to forget how good life can be? Or is it possible we learn to enjoy limping? After all, it provides a convenient excuse to explain away poor performances.
I know this much: It’s possible to limp so long we make agreements with ourselves. As in, “Pain-free walking just isn’t for me,” or “I’m stuck in this lousy relationship but I’m used to it now,” or “I’m saddled with this addiction for the rest of my life, I should just get used to it.”
We live on and on, limping through life out of habit, and something inside us dies.
The question we have to ask is this: Do I want to get well?
Jesus asked this same question of a man in John 5:1-9. The man had been paralyzed for 38 years, and Jesus found him lying by a pool of water, a place where blind, lame, and paralyzed people were left for the day by their families.
There was a tradition that when the water was stirred, the first person into the pool was healed. Jesus asked the man, “Do you want to get well?”
The man said, "Sir, I have no one to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up and someone else steps down ahead of me"
Curiously, the man didn’t answer Jesus’ question. He started making excuses. Jesus didn’t ask him, “What are your problems? What makes your life so hard?” He asked, "Do you want to get well?"
This man had been sick so long he forgot about wanting to get well. All he could do was explain his own limp.
Too often we settle when we don’t have to, because we forget how good life can be. We forget about God’s healing. We hide behind our limp to avoid living the life God has for us.
I would encourage you to ask yourself: Am I limping? Have I given up hope? Am I settling for a life of habit instead of living the life God has for me? What have I allowed to die within me?
Maybe, like me, you’ll have to learn how to walk all over again.
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32