UnComfortably Numb

22 09 2010

Pink Floyd wrote a song, “Comfortably Numb,” and most of the lyrics don’t make any sense, but these four lines will work for what I am thinking about this morning:


Is anybody in there?

Just nod if you can hear me.

Is there anyone home?

You know when you wear boots that are too tight and one of your toes starts feeling numb?  I think life is like that. Sometimes we are so squeezed in there, we don’t even feel what we ought to be feeling. Things that ought to move us, don’t; things that ought to make us feel sad, don’t; things that ought to make us feel empathy, don’t. Even joy; joy can slap us in the face and our expression stays the same.

That is a problem.

Reading Acts 2:36-37 this morning where the people, upon realizing their great and grave error, were “cut to the heart.”  Cut to heart! Just think about it. This is a kind of realization, an emotional overload that drops you to your knees. It absolutely changed them, and absolutely changed the world. Had they felt less, they would have been less driven, less courageous, less laser-like about the Good News about Jesus; their devastation emptied them and the Holy Spirit filled the void with a fire that could not be quenched.

But the devastation came first.

There is a lot of numbing out going on these days, though. There has to be, for us to treat one another the way we do; for us to be so nonchalant; for us to be so ineffective; for families to crumble so easily, over nothing; for children to lose their way with 20 adults casually observing; for our lack of commitment; for friendships to slip away with hardly a thought; for us to feel OK about our detached, wandering decisions.

Why are we so numb? Is it the constant rub of a problem we can’t fix? Is it that we are so bombarded that insanity is the only other viable option? Is it fear? Avoidance? Are we just mixed up about what is worth feeling something about? Have we lost our pulse?

Sometimes I am tired out by feeling things; I feel weary of feeling and find myself experimenting with “coolly disconnected;” I want that. Sometimes I try to be that, thinking it would be simpler. Maybe it would be; if someone could only pull that emotional wire, I would be less affected. To be honest, I have actually prayed for this but have completely struck out on that prayer.

I want to put “things” someplace so that my head can feel clear; orderly. I want to tighten my circle so that there are less people to be concerned about. If I see something painful and confusing coming my way I would rather that someone put me out and wake me up when it is over.

Ah, comfortably numb.

But I serve a God that gave me five senses, and a heart that both sinks and soars, and a mind that craves and creates, and tears. Tears are for something. I feel; I feel sadness, disgust, anger, anticipation, joy, trust, fear, surprise. And if I don’t, something is very, very wrong.

All these emotions are motivators; they are things that compel me to act: right a wrong, celebrate, hug someone, move away from something, walk towards something, let something go. Laugh.

Jesus doesn’t want to take these things away from me; He wants me to be alive. He wants me to feel, even when the feelings are overwhelming, He promises I will not be overwhelmed. He will use what goes deep in me, to do something powerful for Him.

When those followers were cut to the heart, was it merely because they were filled with regret, or did they suddenly feel…feel the deluge of God’s love and forgiveness for their awful deed: Grace. I realize Grace is a concept, a fact, but it is also a feeling (maybe more so). And when is the last time I let myself feel that?

— Teresa Klassen

Afterword: Answer — Last night when I got some unexpected breathing room (actually, an answer to prayer. Some ladies prayed for me that morning for this). I felt the happy smile of God in that hour; yes, I felt it.

After-Afterword: And I feel something about this day which is resplendent!



One response

22 09 2010
Nelson Chapman

There’s one word in particular that really stuck out to me. It’s been a long time since I’ve allowed myself to feel the excitement of anticipation for anything. A very long time. Now you’ve got me thinking… and with any luck you’ll have me feeling pretty soon too 🙂

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