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Listening to Himself

By Carl S. ~

He told her how, when the congregation carried on in the service and the preacher preached, that all the while, he thought thoughts about them. And she said, “You know what they say about people who listen to their own thoughts only." He didn't ask who “they" are or what they "say."

Then one day, while watching another one of those real courtroom cases on TV, he asked himself that inevitable question. “Don't those defendants listen to themselves?“ They all too often didn’t get the point when their contradictions were revealed to them. Maybe they were being defensive, suppressing anger. But he began to suspect it had its roots in their own self-deception. "Just listen to yourself!" is what friends and, especially, mothers say when their children tell them lies.

There's something in the congregation's loud, repetitive, constant proclamations that overrides listening to oneself by listening to anyone BUT oneself. Well, if you can't listen to yourself, you can't say, "Gee, maybe that doesn't make sense, I need to think about it. Alone. Maybe, just maybe, I'm lying to myself and others, and my doubt is the map to finding the how and why, the way out." (And why others would rather not?)

Finding the way out, he's often lonely. He's listened to himself so much, and observed others who don't do the same for themselves, that he craves the company of other unfettered minds.

And now, when he meets some of those church members without their congregation, as individuals, he sees THEM as lonely individuals with nothing but small talk to offer.