Echo Chamber

Did you ever wish you could turn off the voices in your head and your heart? Maybe just quiet them down a bit or convince them to discuss another topic so you can get down to the business at hand?

Yeah, me too.

I’m struggling today with an internal monologue (dialogue?) that says I should give up.

Give in.

It’s a very seductive argument full of supporting documentation of past failures, tickling links back to my own weakened, bruised and self-defeating ego (if you can have an ego this deep down). It’s not eloquent or flowery or well-spoken, but it is loud and persistent and ceaseless and right.

To break the monotony of this pity soliloquy, I’ll share an example: Owen was baptized yesterday. Stood up with him and the whole family before a “contemporary” service of folks dressed in business-*very*-casual, held him over the font and promised to do things I’ll never do. And for what?

For the approval of my parents and in-laws?
To serve some nagging need to cover all my bases in afterlife bingo?
Because that’s what parents do?

I’m certainly not religious of, heaven help me (ha!), “spiritual” though I know I’ve tried. Raised Methodist but always questioning. Read the Bible, went to Sunday School and confirmation class and every church social, potluck dinner and lock-in this side of 10am.


Yet there I was yesterday sitting in a glorified gym on an uncomfortable chair listening to a preacher who was neither a particularly skilled orator or a convincing witness for the umpteenth time. But I didn’t leave or block him out, I tried to square the circle of my own knowledge, the world as I’d seen it, the words as I’d read them and the story as he spoke it, but I couldn’t.

If there was some message I was being given it was to actively *not* believe. I searched my heart and my head and even my hands but nothing happened. And by nothing I don’t mean crickets or silence, but I do mean that I wasn’t moved or spoken to in the affirmative but in the negative.

I’m being told not to believe. Actively told.

Is it me?
Is it God?
Is it Margaret?

And should I care one way or another? Should I differentiate?

All I know is that I don’t know anything. I just want to find a truly quiet place to consider and to silence and to shield and to escape.

I don’t want commiseration.
I don’t want consolation.
I don’t want comments or feedback or constructive criticism.

I want to truly hear what I’m being told, away from my own disdain and disbelief, apart from other appeasers.

I want to know what I’m being told, what I’m telling myself and if there’s a difference.

I want to get unstuck. I want to believe.

7 thoughts on “Echo Chamber

  1. Once my grandmother pressed me with a “don’t you think” question regarding prayer being the best remedy or God existing or something else that I honestly believe to be complete nonsense. I tried to just not answer, but she persisted. She put me into a position of either lying and feeling like I cheated myself or telling the truth and hurting her feelings.

    I chose to hurt her feelings. She got over it.

    That’s the choice I’ve found myself making more and more lately, and it’s been working for me. YMMV though.

  2. Thx, Rusty. That helps.

    And I don’t feel particularly compelled to doing some of the things in my life or even expected or required or anything.

    I just feel like the inertia of my life is drawing me nearer and nearer to a black hole void I’d rather not fall down.

  3. I hear you. I’m thinking a lot about mortality this past, uh, year, and it raises a lot of these questions.

    For me, though, it’s sort of backwards. I’m personally religious, but not into organized religion. For me, it’s tricky to admit that I have faith when a lot of my friends think it’s hokum. Casual mentions of how obviously ridiculous faith is get tossed around my circles without hesitation. And why shouldn’t they? It’s what a lot of people believe.

    They’re entitled. So am I. So are you. There’s a point to politeness, but it’s to make people not feel shitty.

    Consider, though, that a lot of rituals are cultural artifacts whose functions are social as much as spiritual. You don’t have to buy into something to respect it as an artifact, performance, or practice.

    Blow something out of proportion and it looks funny, grainy, blurry.

    Simple question for your own orientation: What would it take to break your inertia?

  4. I think at some point we all question that “you just have to believe it” stuff; just don’t let it over take you. Sadly, part of religion is just accepting things as they are, without explanation or questioning; which leads to misinterpretation and potential bad things on the part of some.

    Sounds like you are just having a moment of “really? REALLY? What am I doing here?”, and if that is the case, just try not to over think it. But hey, what do I know, my inner monologues are so fucking annoying these days that I would just love a few moments of peace and quiet.

  5. well, you said you didn’t want comments but since it seems to be the norm, i’ll throw mine in.

    good luck.

    you know where i stand on these questions, but i will say this, it was a long and very complicated journey to get there and one that still isn’t over.

    you’ve read my picks of the week so you know i read a ton of theology and that’s because i still have a ton of questions and i am still searching for a ton of answers.

  6. You know, james, the post came out and largely hinges upon faith, but it’s also about inertia and direction and being in a place and a time and a situation that feel both too natural and also very foreign.

    It’s about loss of self or discovery of self and just plain searching.

    God could be part of that, but I’m not so sure what I believe anymore. Or if I believe or truly want to believe.

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