"Hey, Jason! Dude, under here. Yeah, it's me, your inner man, your conscience. Remember me?"
As I closed my eyes they rolled backwards as if to look into my own soul. I always wondered why eyes did this when you closed them. It didn't take long for them to locate the source of this inner voice trying to get my attention.
"Hey, what's the big idea jumping me like that out of nowhere? You scared me there for a second."
My conscience seemed sensitive to my alarm, but wasn't about to apologize. I had heard from my conscience before, but somehow over the years, his voice has changed, or my hearing has changed. It's hard to say sometimes which is which. Anyway, I could barely recognize my own consciences' voice. It was raspy and weak. Like it hadn't been used in a while and needed a drink of water to moisten drying vocal cords.
"It's been a while since we've talked. Where ya' been?"
I knew where I'd been, but I didn't want to admit it to myself, my inner man. It's funny how over time you can hide certain parts of yourself from yourself, or at least you can try. I hadn't struck up a conversation with my conscience in quite sometime. It felt like meeting up with someone in the mall that you used to be good friends with and starting the conversation with a flurry of excuses about your absent-minded vacancy. I could tell he wasn't buying my disclaimers.
"The guilty man runs when no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion."
My conscience knows all these verses from the Bible and without opening his mouth throws them upon me with his telepathic mind powers. I can feel them bore into my heart like a tic. This verse in particular hit with an almost customized force. It spoke of my story as of late.
"I'm not running from nothin'."
I wasn't going down without a fight. I'd come too far to give up that easily. Besides, a conscience is nothing but a nuisance these days, a useless drag that prevents you from upward mobility. Nobody listens to their conscience anymore, it's outdated and antiquated. It's like listening to your grandpa drone on and on about how things used to be. That was then, this is now.
"This is going to be harder than I thought."
It was almost stated with a sigh, like my conscience felt sorry for me. I hate feeling pitied. But I can't say that I blame him, my convictions were becoming pitiful. I'd noticed a slow loss of nerve endings leading to numb sensations in regards to things that typically sent a stab of pain through my innards. Sin was not met with the same resistance it once was. But I had several very logical reasons for my different approach to sin, reasons that more than justified my new sense of justice.
"What is that supposed to mean?"
I feigned a cluelessness in order to turn guilt back upon my accuser. It always worked before. Make the one asking questions or making comments seem like the one out of line. He wasn't buying it. Not one bit.
"Drop the dopy disguise, bro."
I wanted to open my eyes letting them roll outward, but I knew diving back into life on that side of my skin would eventually kill me. I was dying a slow death and I had no one to blame but myself. Years of muffling the inner voice left me drowning in my own devices. Drunk judgement replaced sober judgement. I don't need to elaborate on where this sort of inebriation takes you in time.
"Let's talk about that mouth of yours, Jason."
Say no more. I was well aware of how half aware I was in regards to my tongue. Filters had worn out over the last few months making little slits in the meshing that once acted as a protection for my mouth. Large pieces of carnal garbage were slipping through these gapping lacerations finding their way out into the air waves. Swearing that for years had either laid dormant or had been screened out by my conscience surfaced like cat urine covered by new carpet. It was only a matter of time. Words that I would have never uttered came out in the car, in the garage, sometimes even around close friends who shared a similar non-conviction with regards to language. I had given over some serious ground in this area, but I didn't need to tell my conscience that, he'd been tracking that like a blood hound for months.
"What's there to talk about?"
I still didn't want to admit to my embarrassing lack of verbal propriety. Pride stands fast as the last line of defense, and it will not give up the ghost or lay down arms without a counterattack. But right under the arrogance there was a admittance of wrongdoing. I was slowly breaking with every additional ball hit over the net in this volleying match with my inner man. I had the strength to hit one more ball over the net before I crumbled to the clay court. Looking back, I'm glad that my insides are so much more athletic than my outsides.
"Do you really want me to answer that stupid question?"
I buckled and hunched over in broken embarrassment. But I needed to. I had been playing around for far too long. I needed someone to take me to my knees and then get on their knees with me to let me come to my senses, discovering my own waywardness, willfulness. And that is just what my conscience did. He stooped down and let me vent my venom. He let me recount how I got here. He let me do everything but beat myself up. That's where he stepped in and drew the line. I'm glad he did, cause I'm not good at doing that. I stood to my feet after what felt like hours of bloodletting and made my way back into life.
"Will you stay closer and speak louder from here on? I need your counsel."
My conscience just smiled and nodded. He had his hand on my heart and on my shoulder. I wasn't going this alone. We walked into life like old friends. He didn't have to say another word, I could feel him now.