Jim Hofmann

For the past year or two, there has been a lot in news about knees.

Have you ever stopped to think about your knees? Maybe you should. Once, the knees were used to express happiness. When someone really liked something they would say, “It’s the bee’s knees.” I’m not sure there is anyone around old enough to have used that phrase in its time but its message is clear. Today, the term bee’s knees would be politically incorrect because it excludes insects without knees, but that’s another story.

Where would you be without your knees? If nothing else, you would be about a foot and a half shorter, not to mention it would be a lot harder to get around. In the physical world, the knee is something we rarely think about when we are young. However, as we age, we are ever more cognizant of our knees. In fact, you might say a healthy life hinges on your knees. Knees are extremely important and very complicated machines. When they work you don’t even know they are there. When they start to break down, they are always on your mind. Sometimes it is a pain along the side of the knee, sometimes it is a pain across the kneecap and sometimes they make you wobble.

Knees take a beating. Who hasn’t skinned their knee? Anyone who is a hiker or jogger or walks on the job or for fun often can hear their knees talk to them with a rattle, a creak or a pop. What the knee is telling us is “OUCH!” It has been said: happy wife happy life. It can also be said happy knee happy life. OUCH! I apologize for that. That was so bad I think I hurt myself. I feel your pain.

The knee is so important that it can directly impact our ability to make a living. When issues arise, we may be sent to a therapist. The therapist will knead our knee, which we need them to do, sorry. I must remember to write before happy hour, not after. Again I feel your pain but please hang in there. So much for the physical aspects of our knees and the impact our knees have on living day to day.

Keep in mind other body parts also contribute daily to our lives. For example, if you like something someone does you give them a hand. In challenging times, you lend them a hand. Be careful if you take a chance because you will be sticking your neck out. It is always good to have a leg up, your nose to the grindstone and your shoulder to the wheel, but it is hard to do all those things at the same time. You shouldn’t wag your tongue or stick your nose into other people’s business. Oh, don’t forget to stay on your toes, give someone a thumbs up and, if you must, knuckle down.

In addition to the physical properties of the knee, there is a metaphysical aspect. This is the part that makes the news. I refer to the expression “take a knee.”

This expression refers to bending or getting down on our knees to commune with our Maker. Washington “took a knee at Valley Forge.” At least figuratively Jefferson “took a knee” when he said I pray for my nation knowing God is just. It is in solitude, in quiet reverence, in supplication, hope, petition and thankfulness that we “take a knee.”

Today, the bended knee expressed by millionaire athletes before television cameras and thousands of people in stadiums has little to do with the bended knee of those who created, preserved and continue to protect our freedoms and our country. The public bended knee of these athletes is a statement that reinforces our differences and, like its counterpart the raised clenched fist besmirches what America represents – our one nation under God, our continued struggle for liberty and justice for all and our flag, our symbol of freedom and fraternity.

Why is it perfectly fine for certain athletes to spite the flag and raise a clenched fist but illegal for a coach to “take a knee” on the field and pray for the safety of his or her team, the opponents, or to just be thankful for the day? In these trying times, when you have the opportunity, I suggest you “take a knee” and pray for our United States, our neighbors and ourselves.

Jim Hofmann lives in Moab. He is a retired educator, corporate trainer, program developer operations manager and engages in a variety of volunteer pursuits.