Life’s Six Nouns

Frank Sinatra got it right when he sang, “That’s Life.” He sings for us life’s “six nouns.” Six descriptive words that plant us squarely into the call we all have received.

We think of “The Call” as something for a priest, brother or sister. Through our baptism we have all been called – chosen – to complete this gift of life with all the life we have to offer.

Unfolding our gifts, renewing our gifts – using our gifts to better our world. It’s a tall order for anyone but truly we each contribute to it.

Frank sings, “You’re ridin’ high in the month _______, shot down during the month of ______.”

Leo and Kate with extended arms at the bow of the ship (April) a short time later freezing together near Iceland, yes, May.

Six nouns, Frank gives us to summarize our lives at different points. We wish to hold on to one of them but life makes us experience all six and sometimes life repeats itself again and again to show us the fullness of life.

But the beauty of this unfolding life of ours remains that darn call – a call that might keep us awake at night if we don’t answer the call, a call that wakes us up early because we can’t wait to get to work again, a call that even retirement can’t diminish. A call that’s as passionate as breathing is to the body. The call is the call that excites untested young people as it slowly reveals itself or the call can become the dreaded nightmare for the 40 year-old who didn’t respond when the call called.

The first noun is for the corporation we represent, the second noun is for the payment we never think is enough; Noun three is for retelling stories others told us and making them our own; The fourth noun is that we do have moments when the words we speak and mean are truly our own; Number five is who else can do our job either better or more cheaply? and the last noun, we’re the one doing something great right now, this very moment – each in our own way – and we love it.

Frank sings,

“I’ve been up and down and over and outAnd I know one thingEach time I find myself layin’ flat on my faceI just pick myself up and get back in the race..

That’s the stamina of our call – both during the good times and still smoldering during those low times. (I like to call it our life’s “pilot light” that never goes out.) A young man was interviewing people at Alexian Village for his podcast so he interviewed me. In general ways, I mentioned ups and downs in my life. He wanted details and I replied that they are mine, mine alone. He then asked me what I would change in my life as though to smooth out my life’s rough edges or the parts I regret. I told him that I wouldn’t change a thing because then I wouldn’t be who I am now, the person I am now. Those successes, failures, near misses and misses and happy times all make up my life – and your life too. To “smooth out” as only a young person would say would have been to “miss out” on this adventure of life – complete with its squarely planted call. A call to be the people that God created us to be.

________________________________

for the corporation we represent
Puppet
for the payment we never think is enough
Pauper
for retelling stories others told us and making them our own
Pirate
we do have moments when the words spoken are truly ours
Poet
who else can do our job either better or more cheaply?
Pawn
and
King – we’re the one doing something great right now, this very moment – each in our own way and we love it.

books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS, available in paperback or Kindle at Amazon:
“Soulful Musings”
“Living Faith’s Mysteries”
“Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings”
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About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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