There’s nothing like marital conflict to focus the mind. Or, alternatively, to make one feel numb.

The song Numb by U2 is about the numbness caused by the bombardment of information in our society. It’s also about marital pain and the numbness that makes you shut down and unable to respond.

Bono (the singer and songwriter) says the song captures guitar player Edge’s state of mind after his divorce. Edge sings the vocals in this song and drummer Larry Mullen sings the first “I feel numb” chorus, as you see in the video. This is probably the closest U2 has ever come to a rap song.

Here are some of the lyrics (complete lyrics are here):

Don’t move
Don’t talk out of time
Don’t think
Don’t worry
Everything’s just fine
Just fine

Don’t grab
Don’t clutch
Don’t hope for too much
Don’t breathe
Don’t achieve

Don’t project
Don’t connect
Protect
Don’t expect
Suggest
I feel numb
Don’t project
Don’t connect
Protect
Don’t expect
Suggest
I feel numb

These lyrics remind me of the inner dialogue one can have in times of stress, in that numb state when you’re trying to remind yourself of what you think you’re allowed or not allowed to do. This song pops into my head whenever I hear someone say “I feel numb” or when I’m in the midst of that overwhelmed state.

More and more, it seems, things like a song, poem, a bird story, etc. will resonate with and encourage me far, far more than a lifetime of lectures and sermons would. Hence posts like these.

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