Comfortably numb

Published 8:12 pm Wednesday, October 7, 2015

To the editor:

My family lives of the “edge” of Polk County. I know what you are thinking, everyone says they live on the “Edge of Polk County,” but I actually do! Part of my property is in Rutherford County and I can throw a rock and it will land in Spartanburg County.

Each morning we make the pilgrimage to Tyron. My wife, my two sons and I travel about 40 minutes each morning. After a mad dash with coffee and some of the remnants of breakfast in hand we begin our morning bus route. The route travels first to the high school and then to the middle school and then to Tryon to make two stops before the family has finally settled in for a usual day.

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While driving I have begun a ritual of looking at the cars that pass us. I started looking because I would see friends and neighbors and wanted to be sure and speak to them as they pass a smile and a wave. After about many years of this route, I have become engrossed with the faces that flash by me on the left. Some are smiling and some slapping the steering wheel rocking out and singing along with the car stereo. These folk make me smile and I am sorry, at times I laugh, but not at them mind you, with them.

There are times when my split second glimpse into the world of my community members reveals something a bit more concerning. I have seen folks looking frazzled and frustrated waving their hands and perhaps yelling at the cars ahead of them or maybe at folks in the car with them.

And more often than I wish, I see folks with red faces, sobbing and rubbing their eyes. My heart sinks as I think of all the things that could cause such turmoil, pain and grief. Our world is full of things that bring pain, anger and sadness. Sometimes we can control these things but most times we can only live through them.

The last of these daily faces that I see seem to be the most common and perhaps the saddest. Those hollow eyed care ridden faces that are covered with a zombie like stare. People going through their daily motions, seeing only the pavement in front of them, praying to make it through one more day of the daily grind perhaps focused on the coming weekend, but definitely not in the here and now.

Pink Floyd had a hit back in the 70’s called “Comfortably Numb.” Have most of us become comfortably numb? How much time do we spend in a place that is totally void of the awe and wonders of life? Then I wonder what people see in my face as I pass. Now perhaps I am seeing the pre-coffee faces of my fellow community members and after they get a large coffee and a doughnut they are resurrected. I pray that this is the case.

Each morning once I get to work I think once more of my fellow inhabitants of this community. I say a prayer of thanksgiving for those who seem happy, I pray for comfort and support for those who are struggling and lastly I pray that all of us are given insight to the blessings of our world. Yes, those blessings we sometimes forget, and even the blessings that are sometimes challenging. What a wondrous life we live! The atmosphere that allows us to live, the soil beneath us that feeds us, the mountains, the sun, the life force that is beating the steering wheel and singing loud around us! I pray that no matter what befalls each of us that we will always be able to see these blessings around us.

Lance Smith
Rutherfordton, N.C.