Numb

Numb. Behold, you are among the numb ones. You stubbed your toe and the infection grew, and you paid it no mind. Outside, there is mindless progress. We need to get busy doing something because we are lapsing into irrelEce. It is time to wake up and do. Be productive. Be numb, but by all means, keep moving. The winter will come and stare at you from all directions. Yours is a grey, cracked canvas.

Your people were once proud. So were everyone else’s people. The things your people take pride in today are not things a human being should be proud of. But, that’s the great thing about human beings. They can become quite proud of most anything. All of them snapping miserable little snatches of Time with their phones and showing their friends, but not saying a word…hoping for exceeding praise. We all want the crowd of strangers to be just as excited about us as we are.

This was an odd time, indeed, when someone was more likely to greatly lament the passing of a celebrity than the passing of an old friend, family member or someone they knew reasonably well. Was there ever a golden time and place for humanity? Some of the greatest paintings were painted and symphonies composed while outside people lost their heads or burned at the stake. This could be the golden era, though it is doubtful that students some hundreds of years from now will see it as so.

What will we talk about when we have determined that everything we can say to each other will make us hate one another? Why do we need to build a physical wall when we are already pretty adept at building virtual ones and metaphorical ones and metaphysical ones? The wall that is coming is a tsunami and it will wreck all of our petty little walls. Lord, I have been a sinful man. Yes, I’ve sinned all of the usual sins, but most of all, I failed to love my neighbor. I sought out many others whom I felt were more worthy of my love, but my neighbor was to awkwardly not me.

It was, in fact, easier for me to love my neighbor from behind my walls. It was easier to go some place and call a man my neighbor when I could get my neighboring in small doses. It was easier for me to love neighbors who were vastly different than me than the ones who were more or less like me but awkwardly not quite me. Who were those men who looked a lot like me but talked in grunts and clumsy pauses, assenting joyously to news of sports scores and battle victories? Men of my own kin, more flesh and blood of mine than anyone else on the planet, and yet more different than so many others. Confident, comfortable men who had no anxiety about letting out another notch on the belt to make room for the next trip to the buffet.

It was easier for me to love the “not me”–the man or the woman who was clearly and exceptionally not me in some distinct way. Was this because I couldn’t love myself, or couldn’t accept that God loves me, too, and loves those men who were so much like me in many ways but spoke a different language than the one I knew?

By the time I’d reached a certain age, I’d formed these deep grooves inside my brain over what an experience was supposed to look and feel like. If an experience wasn’t behaving as expected, it was quickly dismissed as being irrelEt to my overall mission on this earth. Eventually, I stopped having any experiences that were noteworthy. I experienced existence. A moment of crisis might entail something like heartburn or a stiff neck from a bad pillow.

I became easily lulled into thinking that the world out there and the world in here would never meet in a jarring sort of way. I had the occasional reminder by way of a traffic ticket or a call to jury duty that someone out there was still keeping track of me. But, for the most part, I could rant and rave inside my house and on my blog all day long and nobody paid me any mind. The loudest of the ranters whom I more or less agreed with–he still wasn’t loud enough to change anything, so how would I be able to?

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