Today’s Prompt: Write about being renewed.
If you look closely, you can still see the scar in the bottom third of my pinkie finger on my left hand. I sliced my finger down to where I could see the bone (I know! Sorry!) when I was about 22 years old. It happened while trying to open an industrial-sized can at a homeless shelter. I fainted to the ground from the sight and the feeling. I was treated at the hospital and received just three stitches. After they came out, my pinkie looked perfectly normal.
It wasn’t normal, though. The nerves were severely damaged. In light of more serious injuries, I feel cautious about overemphasizing how much of a hardship it was to have a non functioning pinkie finger. In the scheme of things, it’s not a big deal. Still, it was a constant presence in my life that never shut off. I was always noticing that little finger. It was numb, or cold. It bothered me when I typed, or wrote, or ate. (I’m left-handed.) It constantly felt like my finger was asleep. I remember having the sensation that it was cold, but touching it and realizing it was the same temperature as all of my other fingers. So weird.
A few days after the accident, I was convinced it would get better with time, but time passed and it didn’t improve. About one year after the accident, I remember thinking to myself “My finger is permanently damaged. I will have to get used to these sensations.”
Here’s the thing, though. It got better. It took years, though.
Dr. Google says that nerves take about 3 months to regenerate. That was not my experience. My finger got better slowly, steadily, over the course of about 3-4 years. I can’t explain that. Either my nerves grow waaaaaaay slower than the average person’s or there is some other explanation about why it took so long. Maybe my brain learned to adjust and to disregard the feelings of numbness and tingling and cold. Who knows? (Tangent: Maybe you do… are you a nerve doctor? I would love to hear from an expert about this, because I’ve wondered about it.)
At any rate, there’s a lesson there about being renewed. It can take a long, long time. It can occur even after one has given up hope. The scar is always there, even after the healing has occurred. Sometimes renewal is so gradual you don’t even notice it.
It’s a mystery.
This post is a part of the 25 days of advent writing and photos that I’m doing with my church Northwood Presbyterian Church, San Antonio. For the writing portion, I’ve just set a timer for 20-30 minutes and whatever I have at the end of the time, I post. No editing past the time limit… no worries if there are errors or if I stare at the screen for the first 15 minutes. Giving it a try.