The “End” of Us?

how-to-unlock-cell-phone-1How many “end times” have there been in your simple lifetime or the lifetimes of those before you?  (Notice I used “you” twice in one sentence because that seems to be the “end time” these days.)  Our society begins and ends with the most important and unique snowflake to fall from the sky and inhabit our universe: you.

Tweet “you” to all those eagerly waiting to know whether you’re about to do something or ask for advice whether you should to do this something or something else.  The news of your day is whether that blouse, that TV show, whether to drop that dead-end boyfriend or to take a nap awakens the attention of those who follow you.  “Follow you” is the Tweet expression and I love it.  “Follow you” where ever you go and whatever you think and more importantly why are these people following you?

The car people still text at stop signs and I can still hear the 35 year old husband ask his wife on the cell phone whether it’s the large or small ketchup bottle that she wants (his life is half over and he can’t pick a bottle on his own!) while I think he’s talking to me because he’s so loud and he gives me a dirty look like I’m intruding on a moment between he and his wife.  (The new bedroom appears to be the grocery store.)

Waiting for my connecting flight is a hoot with my cigarette-friends and their phones front and center and squarely in their faces as though they’re solving mathematical equations.  Is it ISIS that concerns them at the moment?  Is it their bank balance that’s low?  The lowest part of me believes it’s killing time without engaging with the live persons in front of them.

Community engagement decreases these days including church, civic groups and neighborhood gatherings but volunteerism seems steady which impresses me.  A six year old grows up with both parents texting each other or someone else at supper time (that is, if there is still a family dinner).  A 90 year old triggered this insight to me that I was already thinking about.  (Isn’t aging great?)  She called it our culture’s “Tower of Babel” with a cacophony (I’ll use that word any time I can) of voices that leads to no one else except the sender or the speaker.

She called it our Tower of Babel, idolatry while at the same time claiming God as our Creator in every survey sent to you when the essence of your creation is squarely squared around you.  The cell phone, for all it beauty and power, like other inventions ends up being used for the basest of purposes.

Instant, important information can be gained by a quick tweet to a friend and a Skype can reduce the distance between two continents.  She also told me that she’s glad that she’s old because it is so sad to witness this happening.

It should be sad for her because the times have changed and there is no reason she should change with them.  Her glorious, growth times and eras are in the past and those enduring memories are crystal clear to her as they should be.  For someone who’s in her 90’s and with technology changing every three to six months, I’ll be joining her soon.

Technology brings so many special advantages to our world – connecting us in ways unknown before.  There’s been numerous other “end times” that did not end the way the end was meant to be but technology’s vision of connecting us has downgraded us into a daily use of projecting and promoting the “me” which for some reason I’m unable to do promote within myself.

I wanted to tell the “ketchup guy” to hang up the phone (which you can no longer do, by the way) and buy the large bottle and then let his wife complain about it when he got home.  That’s the way it was meant to be.  Those are the days that I remember.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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