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The Baptists Today staff made my day with this Genesis-inspired T-shirt, complete with an x-ray of a bilateral hip replacement.

The Baptists Today staff made my day with this Genesis-inspired T-shirt, complete with an x-ray of a bilateral hip replacement.

Recovering from any sort of surgery is a process. I’ve now had four of them, all involving moving parts: there’s something artificial now in both shoulders and both hips.

I’m hoping the knees still have some good tread left on them.

Replacement of my right hip didn’t come too soon: the surgeon said the weight-bearing portion of my femur — which should be round — was worn down flat. No wonder I couldn’t bend it.

There’s little chance I will live long enough to flatten the cobalt chrome replacement, which is working just fine. The only pain I have left is from the incision, and that’s diminishing. I can walk again without looking like I’m constantly stepping in holes. Even so, the comeback trail isn’t immediate: there’s physical therapy to do, and ice to apply, and resting with the feet up to keep swelling down.

It’s a process, but there’s daily progress, and confidence that I’ll soon be back up to full speed — which isn’t very fast, but it’s steady.

It occurred to me that spiritual growth works in much the same way. If we want to see progress, we need the daily discipline of doing what’s good for the soul as well as the body. That includes the intentional pursuit of both spiritual exercise and rest — and maybe a bowl of chicken soup, made for someone else.

Tony Cartledge

About Tony Cartledge

Tony W. Cartledge is contributing editor of Baptists Today, in addition to teaching Old Testament studies and various ministry courses at Campbell University Divinity School. He formerly served as editor of the Biblical Recorder, newspaper of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, and as a pastor for 26 years. Tony is a graduate of the University of Georgia, Southeastern Seminary and Duke University, where he earned a Ph.D. He is the author of several books including the Smyth & Helwys commentary on First and Second Samuel and Telling Stories: Tall Tales and Deep Truths and several Bible study books for Nurturing Faith.