one of the great things about our neighborhood is the local community center. there are classes for our daughter, a pretty good workout equipment area, and a gym. i have been dropping in to play pickup basketball lately.

it is amazing how competitive some of these old fogies can get. (for our purposes here, “fogie” can be defined as anyone more than four years out of high school)… i’ve seen name-calling, venting & cursing, pushing & shoving… sometimes it seems more like the kidwatch babysitting program than a group of working professionals. after one particularly contentious exchange, one guy wandered off into a self-imposed timeout.

a brief aside: i am reminded of my first pickup game at seminary. somehow, i ended up being the second-tallest person on the court and ended up guarding this dude who was about six foot three, and very athletic. his first move to the hoop was a two-handed tomahawk dunk. as the realization that my only defense against this dunkitude was a slow-motion lunge, this scene repeated itself many times throughout this game, usually followed by a grin and a shrug. it was months before i mustered up the courage to play again.

anyhoo… i was playing earlier this week at our local gym, and i ended up jamming my ring finger something good. i should have listened to the voice in the back of my mind telling me to take off my ring finger to prevent unnecessary swelling. by the next morning, my finger had become more of a purplish hotdog than a proper human digit. and, sure enough, my ring was further squeezing my swollen finger.

i had these paranoid thoughts that i would need to be rushed to the e.r. “put that man on a gurney! i need thirty cc’s of epi… stat!” (i’m just trying to remember any of the word-sounds i’ve heard on tv’s e.r. before)… my biggest worry was that they would have to cut off my wedding band in order to treat my injury.

when i look at my wedding ring, i am reminded of how lucky i am to have married the love of my life. i also have this strange tendency to turn it around in circles around my finger when i am worshiping God through songs. i’m pretty sure it’s more than just a nervous habit. i don’t know when i became conscious of this action, but i realized that i do it because my wedding ring also reminds me of love that came down, filled with eternity and rescue. through the loud and quiet, the applause and jeers… the loving commitment of God endures…

thankfully, no rings were harmed in the healing of my finger.

when my anxiety starts kicking into gear, i imagine all kinds of worst case scenarios. it’s not enough to end up in some kind of emergency, but i imagine being on one of those tv newsmagazine expose-type deals… “you’ll never guess what surgeons left inside this man’s guts… three rolls of surgical tape!” or getting some kind of horrible staph infection afterward…

in a bit of doctor humor, my brother-in-law has always wanted to print retreat counselor shirts that read “event staph” on the back. *grin & shrug*