Saturday, September 26, 2009
By Christine Thackeray
Four years ago my knees went out. After sustained bed rest due to a difficult pregnancy, the surrounding muscles atrophied to the point that my knee caps were totally out of alignment and crunch every time I bend my leg. At the time I went to physical therapy, and they gave me a variety of exercises that encouraged leg bends which made my knees swell and only seemed to exasperate the problem. After a year of consistent work, I stopped trying because my legs were worse.
A few weeks ago my husband was putting on his socks and turned to me out of the blue and said, "Why don't we go to Israel?"
I've always dreamed of going and everything has fallen into place for the trip, except I'm really worried about my knees. After one day at Disneyland this summer I had to have my legs up for two days to bring down the swelling and recover. How can I do ten days in Israel?
So I went back to a different physical therapist. I talked to him about my problems, and he told me that the way to strengthen my knees was to begin with my feet and ankles. Then work on my thighs so that all the supporting muscles were doing what they should. He agreed that any knee work was both ineffective and detrimental.
THANK YOU! This week I've started doing the ankle and feet exercises and even started working on the eliptical without pain our swelling. It is miraculous.
What I kick myself for is that this is a principle I already know. It's part of the concept of "succoring the weary." When we succor or serve people, we don't live their lives for them, but give them the strenghth or help in areas we can to alleviate enough stress that they can cope with what they need to on their own. Like bringing dinner to a new mom or scrubbing the kitchen and bathrooms of someone who has been too depressed to do it themselves or just hanging out with a mom who is struggling with activity. Sometimes supporting people in other areas can have a powerful effect on different but connected challenges in their lives.
It is interesting that the scripture that talks about feeble knees also talks about succoring:
Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.
This concept of indirect support applies to so many things from being somewhere on time to improving our writing to getting our son to plan his eagle project. Wow. So I'm pointing and flexing, lifting each toe separately and working on balance with a big smile on my face. Who knew?