My dad will undergo surgery to have his hip replaced today.
For months upon months he's lived with a ball and socket joint that clanks around like rusted auto parts. He still walks, travels, cycles, golfs, and skis with amazing strength and skill, but he must do all these things through a curtain of pain.
I have a creaky knee that complains when I don't treat it well, though I certainly can't compare that to the pain my father endures. Still, I know that when my knee hurts I simply cannot remember how it feels to be pain free. The same goes for when I'm ill: my body cannot recall the feeling of being healthy. Pain and discomfort take over my mind and sometimes even my spirit. Not knowing when I'll feel better can put me in a rather hopeless mood.
My father, for all these months, hasn't known when he would feel better, yet I've never heard him utter a word of complaint. If you were to ask him why he endures his discomfort in silence, he'd probably tell you that complaining doesn't fix anything. He'd rather keep living his life in pain than sit around moping. (This is the same man who, at the first sign of a cold, showers and gets dressed and resolves to accomplish anything that gets him out of the house.)
Today he will begin a six to eight week long process of pain with a purpose. This isn't his first hip replacement surgery. He knows exactly how the grueling experience will go this time. I have no doubt his attitude (and, frankly, his stubbornness) will contribute to his unnaturally swift recovery.
I'd like to think that my father's hip replacement is inspiring something in me: an attitude replacement.
I am humbled by my dad's quiet strength and endurance. The everyday wear and tear of our bodies (our homes, our belongings) needn't cause us to sink into hopelessness or disappointment. Life happens, might as well get yourself dressed and get out there to enjoy it!
Thanks, dad, for teaching me that enjoying life despite difficulty is a choice. I love you and I'm praying for smooth sailing while you're on the cutting board!
Talk to you soon, Bionic Man.