Today is another surgery day in the Young household. This time it’s my Prince Philip who is having a partial knee replacement surgery in just a few hours. This is after 35 years of running 4 – 6 times a week for an hour or more. We are grateful that it’s just a “partial” which means it’s the inside of his left knee where the bones are meeting without any cushioning tissue in between. They’ll shave down those bones and put in a lovely little contraption that will keep the bones from grinding against each other and act like a cushion between them and give him the flexibility and weight-bearing capacity he’s been lacking since about last October.
We are grateful for this day, but appreciate your prayers for his surgeon (who is excellent by the way) and his recovery. And pray that after all Philip has done and been for me in the last 16 months of my cancer storm, that I will be able to give back just a little of the comfort and care he’s given me.
As we readied ourselves for this surgery on the heels of so many of my surgeries recently, here are just a few reflections:
1. Times of suffering will hit everyone. We long for a world without pain or suffering, but these events which put us into the land of suffering remind us that what we long for can’t be found in this world. Scriptures says that for the joy set before Jesus, He endured suffering — meaning, He knew victory over suffering and death would be found only in our heavenly home which awaited Him and awaits all those who know Jesus. None of us can escape suffering in this world in which we now live and sometimes aging or disease or tragedy or uncertain times will remind us of this. Times of suffering should make us grateful for all the times we haven’t suffered and they should also make us hungry for heaven where suffering will be no more.
2. Loss is something we must all bear. Philip can’t run ever again. When his doctor told him in October of last year, “Philip, your running days are over,” Philip was crestfallen. He couldn’t believe it. He loved running. That was his prayer time — that’s where he met the Lord each day. That’s where he let his legs take him to places you can’t get otherwise and where he enjoyed nature and yes, wild animals (he loved the coyotes that live in a nature preserve around our neighborhood). But in that doctor’s office when I saw the grief of loss in his eyes, I put my arm around him and in front of the doctor and two technicians reminded him that 2012 was the year I lost my breasts and he lost running — that we grieve our losses and move on. He looked up at me and said, “I can’t believe you just said that!” One tech lost it in laughter! But the truth is that loss will strike us all in some way, perhaps many ways. We must grieve our losses and yes, we must move on for God’s goodness prevails even in the midst of loss and He has even better things ahead for us.
3. Sometimes the tree must be pruned. Last year, I had to be “pruned.” Diseased tissue needed to cut out. This year, Philip’s bones in his knee need to be pruned. Our bodies remind us of what Jesus spoke to the disciples in John 15: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” As I was pruned last year, I hurt in a way that is not fully describable with words, but oh, the fruit that has come from that pruning. As Philip is pruned today in his body today, I know that God is at work and not only will his body bear greater fruit of health and wholeness, but his soul will surely bear greater fruit for God’s kingdom. It’s weird and wonderful how God can link an act that takes place in our body with what He wants to do with our soul.
So today, I take my dear Prince Philip to the surgery center and while he is “pruned”, I will wait with Jesus as Philip has waited with Jesus for me so many times since December 2011. And I will be at peace because in suffering, in loss, and at moments of pruning, Jesus is in the center of it all — having His way with us, perfecting His will in us. Amen. Let it be, Lord, let it be!
Thank you for your prayers.
Love and blessings,
Rev. Cathie+ and Prince Philip, aka “Mr. Partial Knee Replacement”
After more than 25 years in parish ministry, Rev. Cathie retired in early 2018 to pursue a quieter life with her husband Philip in the mountains of Central Oregon. Although no longer a leader in congregational life, she continues to follow her calling and passion to minister to those who suffer, especially those with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.