The Crosswalk

A year and a half ago, I had surgery on my right knee. It no longer hurts when I do simple things that, years ago, I used to take for granted, but it’s also not like it was. It has its moments where it will have a temper tantrum, be in a mood or just simply throw in the towel. It likes to swell when I walk too much, sometimes it simply aches for no reason and other times it will be stiff, as if to say, “I’ve had enough of you.”

I firmly believe in the “no pain, no gain” way of thinking, so I’ve decided to walk for my exercise. Every night. Perhaps some walks will be longer than others, but it’s no longer injured, it’s simply in need of activity. So activity it shall receive.

The other night, I was on the fourth mile of my walk, when I realized my knee wasn’t happy with me. Alas, I was still about a mile and a half from home, so it would need to deal with things for a while longer. The last bit of light was on the western horizon, and the sky was a lovely, rich shade of sapphire. A crescent moon was in the sky; stars were becoming more plentiful by the second, like impatient fireflies coming out to play.

I saw a couple across the street entering the crosswalk after their outing to a local store. Both looked incredibly old and frail — they appeared to be around 80 years of age. Their speed was lacking, and I kept an eye on them since there were a lot of cars out, as well.

The man was in a wheelchair, and the woman shuffled a few paces ahead of him. His legs seemed almost nonexistent, or were — at best — so shriveled up and atrophied that his pant legs were blowing in the evening breeze. Her stance was sad; she was so severely and permanently hunched over that every step seemed to drain her. Still, she hurried as best she could across the crosswalk.

Seeing them out and about due to necessity, despite their conditions, made my knee pain suddenly insignificant. It made me realize how much we all have, even though we may need a reminder from time to time.

It’s not a bum knee, it’s an opportunity to become stronger.

It’s not pain, it’s an opportunity to be thankful that it’s minor in the grand scheme of things, and definitely not permanent.

It’s not a chore to have to walk for my health, it’s a blessing when we look around and see how little health and ability others might have.

Today, as I have been more often than not lately, I am thankful for perspective, and for the reminder that we have it far better than we might initially realize.

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