Finding Some Flair in Pain

I have a bad knee. One of these days I’m going to have to get a new one. My right knee has a personality of its own. Ever since a surgery I had in college, my knee has attitude.

Today it’s in a bad mood. So it hurts. It really hurts. I can’t sleep when it gets that way, and I wake up grumpy. And then I think about the fact that it’s hurting all day. Then I’m mad at my knee. And then I go crazy trying to think about what to do with the pain.

So here’s what I did for my out-of-the-ordinary flair moment:

I thought about all my knee has done for me in my life: the carpet burns it has endured as I crawled as a baby, the bike crashes it has absorbed, the stitches from that summer I fell at the pool, the times it had me kneeling in prayer, the beautiful landscapes it has taken me to, the nervous taps from my fingers it received all those long school days, the skirts it peeked out from when I was finally allowed to wear a miniskirt (hello 80’s), the garter it held up on my wedding day, the babies it bounced, the dirty hands wiped on it from children, the floors it helped scrub, the way it lets me dance (I’m getting better at “Beat It”), the walks it takes to school, the way I slap it in the coffee shop when seated with friends who make me laugh, the frisbee it lets me catch, impossibly, by the jump and the mid-air turn last night(that’s why I’m in pain). . .

Oh, the knee!

I’m not mad about my knee. Living with flair means being thankful for that darn bum knee. So, yes, it’s really painful today, but do you want to hear about how my knee once peddled me along the Potomac River at dusk? That day, I remembered loving my life because of the fish surfacing, because of the golden sun that lit every leaf with some magic radiance, and because of the hope I felt back then that my life could become extraordinary. I was 10 years old.

It’s not a solution to pain. But thanking my knee prevented another, more despairing pain: bitterness. Living with flair means I choose the beautiful and not the bitter.

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