I jammed the ring finger on my right hand playing basketball when I was in the 7th or 8th grade. I remember it hurt at the time, but being young and invincible I didn’t think too much about. I didn’t even try to pop it out.

Over the years, though, I’ve noticed changes in that finger. It cracks and pops more easily than my others. If this were the only change, I probably wouldn’t think much of it, but this particular finger actually causes me physical pain from time to time. This pain is located in the top joint, near my fingertip. It is not constant, but it is sharp and piercing when I feel it. I suspect I may have a touch of arthritis in it, but I’ve never mentioned it to a doctor.

I’ve thought about that finger more recently because the pain seems to resurface more during periods of cold weather, especially if my hands get really cold. The only way I know to describe it is pin-like; that is, like someone sticking a pin into my finger. Temperatures have hovered around the freezing mark recently where I live, and I have those little sticks. It’s not debilitating by any means, but it is slightly annoying.

It’s funny to me that this pain has the ability to take me all the way back to middle school. It doesn’t always, but sometimes I find myself reflecting back on those days. Mostly, the memories are not pleasant. I know I jammed the finger during the school team’s basketball practice, and I wish now I had never even played for that team. I wish I had stopped playing long enough to try to un-jam my finger. I wish a lot of different things.

Lamenting my decisions from all those years ago, though, is not why I am writing this post. The reason I decided to write all this down is because I am constantly amazed at how time passes and how we connect certain things to certain memories. That pain in my finger, for example, connects me to my early teens. It’s a terrible thing to remind me, to be honest. I would much rather have some happy memory to link me to that time, but those memories don’t seem to come as easily. There’s something about the pain, though, that brings it all back.

Time is a strange and terrible dance. So much of its passage is filled with pain, and that pain seems so easy to remember. Every time I see a photo of a friend I’ve lost touch with on Facebook, I feel sadness. Every time I drive past a business that denied me employment, I feel rejection. I’m sure there are lots of things like this I just need to get over and move past, but there is always that pin-like prick to remind me. Just like the feeling in my finger, there is little I can do to alleviate the pain.

All this is not to say I don’t have happy memories or that pain is the only catalyst which can conjure up images of the past. It’s just the theme I seem to be ruminating on lately. As the weather gets warmer, I won’t notice the discomfort in my finger as much, and I won’t give much of a thought to that game of basketball. Time will keep dancing on, though, and my memories will keep multiplying. Here’s hoping there are more good ones than bad ones.

Leave a Reply