In 1979, Pink Floyd’s song, Comfortably Numb, was one of many I played endlessly while lying on my bed, looking at my black and white and pink shiny wallpaper, earphones blocking out the world. Then, I just liked the music and singing was an escape.
Today, that term seems to describe a whole bunch of people I care about: Comfortably Numb.
“Hello…is anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is anybody home?
In discussing this with a numb friend, he said, “I think love is a game for the young; I don’t think I’ll ever really feel that way again.”
Surely those who’ve had their hearts broken understand what it is to be emotionally numb.
But I think it’s a condition that is more pervasive than we realize. It extends to those with shattered dreams and drowned hopes and frozen plans.
And I wonder…how do we help those who are emotionally numb…really?
I read a BLOG about the condition in which the writer explained it like being on thick ice…you know there is a current of water flowing beneath your feet that, were you to get even splashed, would make you shiver and jump and … react! But the ice keeps you separated from the life-filled water.
And so you move cautiously forward. You are afraid of just how cold that water would be, and all you can imagine, if the ice were to break, is that the exposure to the water would kill you.
I believe that we all have days…weeks…years perhaps in which we are emotionally numb…and while it might be safe, it really isn’t comfortable.
As I watch the coverage from Sandy I imagine just how numb the survivors must be. I think about the fact that the things we commonly use to cope–working insane hours, keeping music and the TV on 24/7, avoiding anything that threatens to break through the ice and move our hearts–even those things are not available to people living in the wake of such disaster.
I wonder if just talking about the thing that preceded the numbness initiates some kind of thaw.
I imagine walking across an ice-covered pond, first alone, and then noticing on the horizon that others are there too, slowly shuffling toward the middle, grey coats flapping, hands burrowed deep into pockets, heads down.
They keep coming and coming not even realizing there are others on the pond until collectively we hear the unmistakable crack…which snaps us out of our dreamlike existence.
As the water shocks us back to life, we reach for one another’s hands.
No longer comfortably numb…we hold onto one another and our numb is replaced by hope as together, all we can begin to imagine is once again, being warm.