Of Failed Tendons and the Body of Christ

Posted by on Sep 10, 2014 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts | 1 comment

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The past few weeks I have been dealing with a betrayal. A betrayal of my posterior tibial tendon. Yep, that’s right. The posterior tibial tendon in my left foot is failing. No biggy, you say? The rest of the foot can pick up the slack?

 

I don’t think so!

 

I’ve always walked flat-footed and my feet are flat—the arches are practically non-existent. My parents shelled out good money for my first pair of special orthotics when I was in my early teens. With the orthotics and avoidance of too many hours barefoot or in non-supportive shoes I’ve managed just fine. I’ve never had what could be called a graceful gait, but that didn’t really bother me. I am me and that’s who I am.

 

But, over the past few months I’ve developed a problem. First my left foot grew from an 8 ½ to a 10. Go figure. No wonder all my shoes hurt and my left great toe nail is bruised.

 

But that wasn’t all. “Miriam, your ankle has turned in. Look at it,” my husband said. “The right one is straight up and down; the left is completely laying inward.”

 

Yikes. Something I had noticed in passing but had failed to absorb into the problem-solving part of my brain suddenly shoved its way front and center.

 

So, after two weeks of vacation during which I let my little toesies be happy and free in flat sandals, I went to the store and bought size ten supportive running shoes for work. Wide-toed shoes that I find ugly. After all, I have to be able to walk/run for 12 hours and I had no work shoes that didn’t cause severe pain in my toe.

 

Oh boy. By the end of that first 12 hour shift in good shoes I had pulled/strained/sprained all of the muscles in that ankle. Suddenly forced into a semblance of alignment my foot rebelled. So started my odyssey.

 

After a visit to the doctor and a referral to the orthotics people I was presented with the diagnosis. Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction. It won’t go away. It is progressive. Orthotics should help for awhile.

 

After two more weeks of x-rays, icing, ibuprofen, elevating, and painful 12 hour shifts, I finally got my orthotics. But they weren’t the end all. They helped relieve the pain, but by now my foot was hopelessly out of sync. My toe spasmed under with each step. All the other toes seized in response.

 

Add physical therapy where I was shown on a human skeleton what is happening with my foot! Wow, who knew all of those bones were so interdependent? Not me! I just went along assuming what had always worked would continue to do its thing. With the new information and the tools I need I am learning a new gait, one that puts the weight on the outside of my foot where it belongs. Changing how you walk at 52 is not for wimps.

 

I’m amazed at how much disruption the failure of one little tendon can cause in my life.

 

I can’t think because I have to focus on walking and multi-tasking at 52 isn’t what it used to be. I am stressed. I fight worry over the 12 hour shifts my job requires. I miss work. I can’t get anything done at home. Visions of my grandma’s deformed feet dance in my head.

 

The muscles in my legs hurt. I am irritable. I get mad at my foot and day-dream about verses like, “If thy foot offends thee cut it off.” I squelch such thoughts and remind myself sternly how thankful I am for my feet. I stamp my foot, part anger and part trying to stop spasms.

 

Then God reminds me. . .

 

In the Bible God likens the body of believers to a human body. Imagine one person in the church is the posterior tibial tendon. They fail and quit fulfilling their God-given gift.

 

The failure causes a skewing of the body.

 

Someone else has to pick up the task, but that isn’t their gift. It causes them to become exhausted and stressed, unable to function to their best ability. The church pulls together and props the unsupported area with an “orthotic” of some kind, but that puts pressure on other “tendons” and then the “toe” starts seizing because it is being irritated by the newly stressed tendon on the bottom of the foot.

 

Before long, the “body’s” gait is all messed up. Sometimes the dysfunction stops the “body” in its track, halting progress. Irritation and stress ensues. The rest of the body starts resenting the failed part. They fight among themselves because they are overwhelmed.

 

They may give up on the failed part. Write it off. It’s too much work to do the rehabilitation. “We’ll just do without,” they say.

 

They ignore the fact that part of the cause of the failure is that the body was lazy and let that tendon do much of the work for years. The tendon failed because it was overworked.

 

A good body will learn the causes and effects of the failure. It will seek to rehabilitate the failed member. It will correct the wrong body dynamics that led to the failure. It will support the failed member with whatever orthotics is needed. It will provide rest. It will work to gently exercise the tendons function until it is strong enough to work again. Each part will strive to do its job correctly.

 

So, back to my physical body. While the orthotics specialist indicated my tendon will never work properly again, I’m not giving up. I’m going to do the exercises the physical therapist suggests. I’m going to support the tendon.

 

And, I’m going to be thankful for a body that is fearfully and wonderfully made, both my physical body and the Body of Christ!

 

 

I Corinthians 12:14-27

 For the body is not one member, but many.

If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

And if they were all one member, where were the body?

But now are they many members, yet but one body.

And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.

That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

One Comment

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  1. Brad Calhoun

    Thanks for the excellent example of the parts of the local assembly working as a body. If only those who can take or leave church could understand how they stress the rest of the body when they do not use their gifts to edify the whole body! We will continue to pray for you and Bruce as you retrain that tendon.