Have you ever been sick with severe congestion and lost your sense of taste for so long that you almost forgot what strong flavors were like? Have you ever been so cold that you lost some feeling in your toes but didn't realize it until you stepped in the shower and your feet couldn't feel the heat of water beating down? Have you ever been unaware that you've become desensitized to a sound until someone asks you how you are not bothered by the rattle or beeping or incessant sound of screams? Maybe these aren't relatable questions, but I know I have personally experienced them all. I have been numb and not even realized it.
I was scrubbing dishes this evening while my children frolicked in the living room. Annie was being abducted by Miss Hanigan, and Sam was trying to save her with a toy broom. My iPod sang from across the counter, and I belted out the familiar words. I could see my reflection in the dark window, face illuminated by the overhead light, and I allowed my shoulders to dance as my hands scraped away at crispy egg residue in my non-stick skillet. Glancing over at the microwave, I realized it was time for baths, so with a flick of my fingers, I pulled them from the sink, dried them on a Christmas towel, and then swooped up my stinky son. When both kids were naked and blanketed in bubbles, I stepped back into the kitchen to finish cleaning. A new song played from the iPod dock, and I recognized it as a waltz. Embolden by a lack of witnesses, I began to box step in my kitchen, which soon evolved into copious amounts of twirling and general merriment as the sexy trumpet cried and a gritty voice professed his love in a sweeping melody. I could feel my extremities fill with a radiant, youthful light which seemed to shoot from my fingertips with every extension of my arm. I closed my eyes and remembered the exhilaration of fanning out and facing the stage lights at my high school ballroom concert. One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three! I spun out and then spun back in, except it was not into the arms of an imaginary partner but the countertop. A gasp of pain escaped my lungs which was shortly replaced by embarrassed and amused chortles. I looked up at the dark window over the sink and studied my carefree smile in awe at the uplifting powers of a simple song.
Two years ago, I rarely listened to music. It played in my car to drown out the sounds of crying children, but at home, it was a rarity. If you know me well, you may find this odd. I have always loved music. I sang in the choir in elementary school. I played the clarinet and did musical theater when I was in junior high and high school. At BYU, I was never without my iPod to set the tone of my campus walks. However, while I was in the throws of depression, music didn't feel the same. It didn't feel like much of anything if I'm honest. It was merely white noise. At the time, I chalked it up to growing older and sluffing off the last of my childhood, but now that music once again invigorates my soul, I realize I was just numb.