…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

Confirm the Feeble Knees

By Rex Goode


I have often contemplated how my favorite chapter of Isaiah was never quoted or referred to in the Book of Mormon. It speaks of the last days and, according to the notes in the LDS edition, of the Restoration of the gospel. The famous quote we always use about the Salt Lake valley comes from the first verse, saying that “the desert…shall blossom as the rose.” I am speaking of the thirty-fifth chapter. There is so much about it that speaks to me that I named this web site after it.

SpringsOfWater.com’s name comes from verse 7:

And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water

One verse has been more on my mind now than ever before, and it seems to have a selfish motive.

Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees (v 3).

A couple of years ago, my doctor filled out paperwork for me to get a disabled parking tag for my car so I can park in those blue-marked spaces and an Honored Citizen’s bus pass. The diagnosis he put on the form was severe Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), also known as Osteoarthritis, in my knees and back. Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease.

Even thought the diagnosis says that the disease is located in my back and knees, on cold, wet days I feel it all over. This concerns me for many reasons. One that I can’t get out of my mind is the memories I have of my mother.

My mother passed away nine years ago of pancreatic cancer, less than four years since she was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. Between the two diagnoses, I saw her briefly when she came to visit us in Ohio for a few days.

At that time, she would be sitting in a chair visiting with us. When it was time to get up to go somewhere, she had a very difficult time with it. She would stand up, grimace, and say, “Mercy!”

Her joints hurt, especially after resting. I used to think it was something I would never have to deal with. I worked out at a gym regularly. I had pretty good mobility. I walked every day at lunch time.

Now, at 53, I’m only ten years younger than my mother when she died. I know what she meant when she cried out for mercy every time she tried to move after sitting for awhile. Some days are better than others, but I still hurt when it’s cold and rainy outside.

I know I’m probably creating a link in my mind between my mother’s joint pain and her eventual death from pancreatic cancer. As a social worker, I know that people tend to think symbollically rather than logically about such things. So, I face the concern and tell myself that I don’t need to worry.

I decided that I was going to approach it by exercising more. I already swim and do water aerobics three to four times per week. It isn’t helping me keep the weight off and my joints continue to hurt. It seems like I need to do more.

Recently, while reading about my condition, I saw a link to an article: Study Finds Too Much Exercise Can Cause Arthritis. It’s a little discouraging. Still, I think that increasing my activity level is the answer. I just need to be smart about it.

Accepting a disabled parking permit and an Honored Citizen’s bus pass was a blow to my ego, but necessary. I’m still a mightily stubborn and proud man. It was even harder when I realized that whenever I do ride the bus, I need to have a cane for stability and standing for long periods of time while waiting. I find I can stand for about ten minutes before I start to hurt. Leaning on a cane make it easier.

Most of all, my pride and stubbornness affects my spirituality. I’ve always believed we should help people who are weaker, sicker, or hurting more than we are. To reach out to help someone climb stairs or stand up was the sign of a spiritually mature person, one who had the heart of Christ himself.

It’s an entirely different experience from the recipient end of things. I was always annoyed by my mother’s independence and insistence that she do things by herself. I thought she should just swallow her pride and accept help. It means that I’m a hypocrite, because I feel the same way she did.

I believe so much in helping those who deal with disabilities that I now do it for a living. I maintain a web site about disabilities. I still want to help when someone is struggling, whether it be physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

The other day, I took my client to an activity with my good friend, Drew Stinson, and one of his clients. We went in Drew’s car, which is low to the ground and hard for me to get in and out of. When we arrived at my destination, my client came around to my door and helped me get out of the car. It felt so strange. I felt guilty. I’m gettng paid good money to help my client, but he was helping me.

I also balk whenever anyone offers to help me up. I use the true excuse that whether I get up on my own or someone helps me up, it is still going to hurt. Perhaps I need to be a little more humble, because in truth, getting a hand up still helps me.

It seems to me, when thinking about it with a more spiritual heart, that everyone moves between helping and being helped. It’s pride that makes us wanting to only be a helper. It is selfish to only want to be helped. I strive to find a balance.

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2 Responses to “Confirm the Feeble Knees”

  1. Jonathan Langford said:

    It’s not relevant to your main point (which is spiritual and well-taken), but are you aware of the arthritis-related pool exercises that are sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation? My mother finds that those help with her arthritis, though it sounds like that’s a different variety than yours.
    I had a similar experience (pridewise) about a year ago when I had to start using a cane for what turned out to be a flareup of gout. Fortunately, that’s now under control with medicine…

  2. Rex Goode said:

    Thanks, Jonathan. I do water aerobics 3-4 times per week. Fortunately, my gout is under control with meds too.

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