When I go to the dentist to have work done on my teeth, with the exception of a cleaning, I get a shot of Novocaine. For about two hours, I don’t have any pain. It starts out feeling pressure and then moves to a tingling sensation until finally, I get the feeling back in my mouth. On another occasion, I got a shot to numb an area on my face. And still several more times, my eyes have gotten drops to numb them for laser surgery.
Numb is good most of the time. It helps us not feel physical pain. But when we talk about numbness because of a tragedy, there is a dark side too. If being numb means we don’t feel pain, that can be a blessing. But otherwise, numbness can keep us from feeling anything. We can’t think clearly, we are distracted, we sometimes … don’t care about much.
Numbness blocks memories too. When grief runs deep, some people can’t remember the funerals of their loved ones. The blurred memories usually never become clear.
How do we get the feelings back that so deeply desire? The medicine wears off. But it isn’t as simple as that with our emotions. Perhaps we should do what David did after his infant son died. We should get up and worship God (II Samuel 12). Maybe we should recognize the presence of God and cry out to Him (Psalm 18:6). God doesn’t reject our cries.
Will we ever get over being numb? It can disappear in a short time… like Novocaine. It can stay with us for a long time like a physical wound that is healing. Eventually, we will feel again. And we will still remember.