Prayer and the Cleaner

I will be the first to admit that I have not always been the most religious person.  I grew up Catholic, was an altar boy and even served as a lector, reading Bible passages during Mass. 

After I left home at the tender age of 19 to join the Air Force, religion played little, if any, part in my life.  I did not attend church and rarely talked to God, although I am sure he was speaking to me.  I simply wasn’t listening.  Of course there were the usual prayers that all young, foolish men make (they usually involved begging for salvation and swearing never to drink again) but nothing of substance.

When Mardi and I started Freedom Cleaning Services, I don’t think I was really prepared for how physical a job, cleaning homes can be.  Many of you may laugh at this, but believe me; if you clean more than one house a week, it can leave you feeling like you just went through a spinning class at the Y.  And so it was that one day, I heard a “pop” from my right knee and, for the next week or so, walked with a considerable limp before I went into the doctor.  The diagnosis was that my meniscus was a mess and most likely my acl was shredded.  I told the surgeon that I simply could not be out of work for the period that it would require after acl surgery.  Do the arthroscopic and clean up the meniscus, but leave the acl alone for now.  He did as he was told and I was out of work for less than a week.

The knee healed well and I was feeling great.  I had complete movement; I could bend and kneel and scrub showers and toilets again.

About six months before Mardi and I got married, we had decided to look for a permanent church.  We found one in Blaine, Minnesota, not far from our home and began attending fairly regularly.  We like the pastoral staff and I began to pray a little more often.  Mostly I prayed for things like the safety of our children, the success of our business, financial wisdom, etc.  Things that are hard to measure the success of, in terms of prayer.  Nothing bad really happened to our children, so was it prayer or luck or their common sense that kept them safe? 

Mardi and I got married in our backyard with our children, my mother and a couple of good friends to stand up for us.  It was a Friday afternoon in August and afterwards, we headed up north for what I call the “Oneymoon”.  Since we were going away Friday afternoon and coming home Sunday afternoon (because we had work on Monday) really, there was only one day of honeymoon.  Oneymoon.  It was a short, but fun time and the final day, as I was coming out of the camper, I planted my foot wrong and heard that familiar “pop”. 

The next couple of weeks were agony.  I didn’t go to the doctor because I didn’t want to hear what, I am sure, he would say.  I was sure he would tell me that I needed an alc replacement.  Everyone I spoke with told me the recovery time would be at least two months and we simply were not in a position to hire and train someone for two months.  Instead, for two weeks I limped my way through our cleaning jobs, grimacing in agony when I moved the knee.  Driving was hell.  Pain would shoot through my leg.  I would come home at the end of the day and ice my knee at least twice.  I could hardly sleep.  After a couple of weeks we were desperate.  Something had to be done and we knew what it was, but we weren’t willing to accept it.  And then it happened.

There was a sermon series going on in our church in late September called His Church at Work.  It dealt with how to be a Christian at work.  At the end of one of these sermons, the Pastor invited us to pray, if we needed some help at work.  He asked those that needed something and wanted to pray for it, to stand and a member of the Prayer Team would come by and pray with us.  The jab in my ribs made me briefly forget about the pain in my knee.  I looked at Mardi and she looked at me.  I didn’t think this was appropriate.  To ask for healing?  Another jab.  We stood and my eyes never left the ground, until one of the Pastors came by and put his arms around us and asked us what we wanted to pray for.  Mardi said healing.  The rest of the service was pretty much a blur, but I went home and told myself that in order for this to work, I had to believe it would work.  So, for the next week, even though there was pain in my knee, I told myself that God himself was healing me.  Would heal me.  Little ol’ me.  The guy who, for so many years had not turned to God for anything.

About two weeks later I got out of bed and, knowing what to expect, winced as I pulled my right led through the pant leg of my jeans.  But there was no pain. Huh.  I climbed the stairs to the kitchen.  No pain.  I went through an entire day of cleanings and my knee felt like it did right after the arthroscopic surgery.  Absolutely no pain.  No twinges.  Nothing.

As I said, I have not been a very religious man.  I am also not a doctor.  I didn’t have x-rays or MRI’s done on my knee, so I am not sure what the problem was.  I only know the facts.  I was in a great deal of pain and discomfort.  I was having trouble doing my job.  A surgery to repair this problem would have cost my company a lot of money.  I asked God for relief from the pain and to spare my company the expense of hiring someone to replace me.  I have no more pain.  My knee is as good as new. 

You can come to your own conclusions as to what happened.  Don’t worry.  I am not likely to stop you on the street and try to save you or convert you.

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