Walking With a Limp

This past weekend was an unhappy anniversary for me. It was one year ago that I broke the femur bone in my right leg. The next day I had surgery, and a titanium rod was inserted inside the bone. I did not know the extent of the surgery, and still to this day have many questions, but the surgery led to two weeks in the hospital followed by a week in a rehab hospital, followed by weeks of physical therapy. The surgeon told me it would be a year before I felt good as new again – and so far he came close, but I am wondering if I will ever feel “as good as new.” I do not experience constant pain (although sometimes my leg lets me know it is through cooperating!), but I think there was some other damage to my leg, as I have very little lateral strength in my knee joint. Although it is not as pronounced as it once was, I still walk with a limp.

I feel somewhat peevish complaining about my little limp. Just call me the wimp with the limp. My wife battled cancer, and has had much more to deal with than me, and I know a number of other people who have to battle severe pain each and every day of their lives. My battle is with a mole hill compared to their mountains. Still, just over a year ago I walked just fine, and today I walk with a limp. I fear I always will.

I am reminded of Jacob who wrestled with God and had a dislocated hip joint to prove it. He always walked with a limp to remind him of his struggle with God. Why did God not just heal the wound after the lesson was learned? The apostle Paul was blessed with a “thorn in his side” to convey the message that God’s grace was sufficient for him. Why did God not remove the thorn after the lesson was learned? It is not like Paul was ignorant or anything – I think he would have remembered the thorn, and what a great object lesson had the thorn been removed.

Jacob had to walk with a limp. Paul had to feel the “thorn in his side” regardless of how many times he prayed to have it removed.

My limp was not caused by wrestling with an angel, or as a result of being called into the third heaven. But I have learned some lessons during the year that I was confined to a wheelchair, hobbled on a walker, cripped along with a cane, and now get along with only a knee brace in the most stressful of situations. Mostly, I have learned that my little limp is hardly something to complain about when compared to cancer patients struggling with chemotherapy or arthritis patients just struggling to get out of bed every morning.

I wish I did not have my limp. I wish it would go away. I wish I could be “whole” again just as I was on August 1, 2017. But I’m not, and it won’t. What I can be is thankful that I have two legs, that I have my wife who is a cancer survivor, and that I can greet the morning sun each day.

I think walking with a limp is a pretty small price to pay for all of God’s other blessings in my life. And I apologize for so often making it sound so much bigger than it really is.

Author: Paul Smith

Paul Smith was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He holds the Bachelor of Science in Youth Ministry, Master of Biblical Studies and Master of Divinity, all from Abilene Christian University; and the Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Paul's passion is in teaching and preaching the gospel. Beyond the study of the Bible, his main academic interest is in the life and theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He is an unashamed mountain-goat, and longs to spend his time with his feet in a cold trout stream.

3 thoughts on “Walking With a Limp”

  1. It’s all in how you look at Paul. You have a good attitude though at times frustrated. But it does lend itself to my weird sense of humor. Please do not be offended but we could call you “Chester” (old Gunsmoke reference) or “Hop Along” from another cowboy reference. Wonder why these are found in cowboy shows? Sometimes laughter is better. When I was working at Wally World I would these managers by saying, “Make the old guy do it” when they wanted something moved. Anyway we could always go with an old folk song called “The Forty year old waltz” where in the last verse which is at sixty years old, “self destructing body parts are trying to do me in.” LOL.

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    1. I appreciate the outlook, George! Every other injury I have had (and I have had several!) I knew for a certainty that, given time, the injury would heal and I would not notice that it had ever happened. This injury has been an entirely different kettle of fish. Now a year into the “healing” process, I am beginning to think that either more damage was done at the time of the accident, or that the surgery to repair the break actually caused some secondary damage. Maybe I just had to end my physical therapy before they could teach me how to continue to rehab the leg (I could not afford $200+ visits to the physical therapist!) Anyway, I can do almost anything I want, given time and room to maneuver, so I really should not complain. I know individuals in far, far worse conditions, and their cheerful acceptance of and triumph over their problems puts me to shame.

      Paul

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      1. I have a good friend who broke his leg right under the knee and he still has problems with it due to the damage done. Age, type of injury, surgery probably all play a role in this. Hang in there and be patient. And I understand about the cost; my doctors have no problem ordering tests and spending my money even with insurance.

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