“Linger or Remain?”

lIt’s a mixture of molasses, brown sugar and ketchup mixed in between navy beans, bacon and ground beef in a slow cooker for ten hours that make an outdoor event enjoyable.

My sister’s party was a hit and her neighborhood friends tested or tasted my brownish goo delight. Curious, though how the scent enveloped my humble abode. In the cooking periods, I didn’t mind the growing scent because it was being prepared for a special occasion. Waking up the next morning to its lingering whiffs had me anticipate the yearly occasion. The continuing mid afternoon odors caused me to wonder how long this lingering would linger? Carpet cleaner? Move to a new apartment?

The evening event began and I delivered my heavy, dark-ladened delicacy to the party. Compliments were accepted except I thought it was too watery but no one agreed with me. 1:00 a.m., I returned home and lo and behold, the whiffing decided to hang around a while longer.

Pots are thoroughly washed, cleaned and placed away but walking around the apartment still had that “something” in the air. “Are my cats going to smell like this forever?” I wonder. The party’s over and the food’s been enjoyed. Next event, please?

Lingering memories and thoughts fill the pots and pans within our lives. Good, bad or indifferent; the hanging around part can be welcomed or bothersome. And, “lingering” is the best of words when applied to unfulfilled or regrettable times of our lives. “Remaining” is the word we like and is easily attached to times we thought should have been longer – “Just a one more hour with this friend or that movie, that graduation or wedding celebration or a dying parent.”

How do we handle lingering and remaining? The longer you live the more you need to deal with those two words, words that can either cause a restless night of sleep or a soothing one. We’d like to open the windows to be free of regrets, sometimes as thick as molasses. We’d like the remaining to live strongly in our hearts, recalling details as often as possible.

The stalwart Psalm 23 resolves both of our problems. “You set a table in front of me in the sight of my foes.” Who wants to eat with their foes? At a table of plenty, you enjoy the fruits of remaining moments and also keep a keen eye on the vegetables of lingering regrets promised to never be repeated. Both are a part of life’s meal, nourishing and fulling.

It’s been a couple of days now and my cats smell the same. The apartment windows are wide open and Saturday’s meal becomes a “remaining” in spite of those “lingerings” scents. I hope my evening meal keeps Psalm 23 in my mind. It concludes, “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS. All available at Amazon.com

“Soulful Muse,” reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
Living Faith’s Mysteries,” reflections on the Christian seasons
of Advent/Christmas & Lent/Easter
“Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,”
reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture

Newest books include:
“Letters From My Cats,”
a collection of letters written by my cats over twenty years
“Bowling Through Life’s Stages with a Christian perspective,”
Bowling as a metaphor for religion and growing up


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. Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on Amazon.com.
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