Lord, Help Me to Shut Up and Listen!

Kathy has made mention of folks who have a knack for always improving upon the stories of others in a conversation. You know the type, maybe: you mention a malady… and they come up with something still worse, someone mentions a funny moment… and they come up with something they think was/is funnier,…   Yeah, I suspect we all know or have seen someone who’s an artist at conversational one-upsmanship.

As easy as it is to acknowledge this phenomena, what is difficult  and uncomfortable for me is to confess that I am just such an artist.  I heard myself — really heard myself — the other morning in a conversation with a group of men having coffee. Tempting as it is to write it off as something related to a jolt of caffiene, the bottom line reality and truth was that I was obviously not content to just listen to others and their stories. No, to every point or story someone else contributed, I witnessed myself making my own [better?] contribution. Someone out there might try to defend me: “you’re being too hard on yourself, Jim… isn’t that the nature of conversation, after all: to bring your own experience to the table?!” But, no, deep down, I knew this was different than a healthy conversation/dialogue. It was clear to me that mine was very much a monologue of sorts in which I was listening as much as, if not more, to myself as anyone else at the table! And, here’s the kicker: even as I was growing in my awareness of what I was doing, I couldn’t stop!! No listening to that inner voice inviting me to “sit down and just listen.” No! Even with some embarrassment for what I was seeing, I kept on binging on myself.

In some ways, I was and am grateful for this revelation. Fond of the 12-steps as I am, I do believe that recognizing one has a problem and that one is not in control are the beginning of getting the real help they need.

In still other ways, though, I feel a strong remorse and sadness — the source of which is hard to finger. At the very least, it’s the sadness of realizing that I might not be as mature as I’d like or pretend to be.

The implications for this blog — focused as it is on a genuine journey with God and neighbor — is clear: spectacular as some solo dancers can be, it’s clear that the authentic dance and life of God demand partnership and community.  So long as I am inordinately absorbed in myself, there’s no real dancing with others!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Lord, Help Me to Shut Up and Listen!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s