An open letter to my knee...

An open letter to my knee is in order because I will soon have surgery to replace my right knee with a new stainless steel one. An elderly friend of mine, upon hearing of my pending surgery, exclaimed “You mean, they're taking it out?” Yes, that's the plan.

My knee has been an intricate part of my body and my life for several years now. The first thing I must do is offer thanks to this joint that has served me so well. I was reluctant to consider parting with it, but over time and with much medical care, there were no more alternatives, other than to remain immobile --- and I'm not yet ready for that. So as the day of surgery approaches, it's time to say a word of thanks.

When in the womb, the knee identified itself with its first kick, and the Mother then knew of the new life therein. Knees make life known, and they practice, in utero, to flex and bend, anticipating their sole purpose of permitting mobility. No doubt, my parents kissed those dimpled baby knees because knees are cute at that age. Before long the knees became the first means of mobility and crawling began. I likely sped across the floor, literally making contact with my environment. The knees, and also the hands, sensed and learned the firmness of the world around.

Inevitably life brought skinned knees. Mother warned “Be careful!” but the girl child that I was, paid no heed. There were trees and rocks to climb, races to run, bicycles to ride, rivers-lakes-pools in which to swim. And sometimes knees got skinned, in various degrees of severity. That's what bandaids were for! 

Household responsibility, rather necessity, found me scrubbing floors on my hands and knees. Sometimes I could make the bed by kneeling on the mattress and stretching way to the other side to straighten the quilt. There was kneeling in the garden, planting, weeding, harvesting, tending vegetables and flowers.

Most importantly of all “knee tasks” has been kneeling in prayer. My early prayers were at mealtime sitting in a chair, and at night time, lying in my bed. My best childhood friend knelt at her bedside for nightly prayer, and so I learned to speak with God in that posture, in greater sense of closeness to the Holy Spirit.

And so I give thanks for a lifetime of association with my knee. It has served me so very well. The new one right now seems more engineering than personal. But it will become part of me as a gracious aide to more independent mobility. It will allow me to move almost as easily as I once did; it will provide more stability and better balance . . . . once we become familiar with each other, once it takes the place of the sturdy, long-lived, efficient, and much-appreciated original model.

. . . . from Dorothy Ellerbroek . . . . June, 2016