Life’s “Run of the Mill”

“The foolish ones [virgins] said to the wise [ones], ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” Matthew 25.



A Burning Candle

“I haven’t seen you for awhile, what have you been up to,” asks a good friend. Listen to her responses as well as those of others. “Well, ‘this and that.’” Wow. Another great conversation exchanged on this glorious and adventurous and mysterious and sometimes baffling journey we call life.

Are “this and that” equal in amount or is there sometimes more of life’s that’s than the this’s!? Or does her this’s beat out her that’s? It now becomes my job and responsibility to work out and to figure out what she’s trying to tell me by my asking her a simple question that is asked to all of us every single day? The work I need to do that should be done by others.

The response I love is, “the usual,” as though anything unusual would never cross this person’s path. Anything unusual would surely throw this person a curveball, never to be caught. “Same old, same old” is not only grammatically redundant but truly summarizes this individual’s human existence; second only to, “been there, done that.” Hearing that kinda takes your breath away, doesn’t it? The weirdest response to a question about your wellbeing is, “Oh, you know.” This is a fill-in-the-blank response. “No, I don’t know.” If I knew the response, I wouldn’t have asked the question!

“Miscellaneous” is a cool word, but it only suggests as much as “bits and pieces” does. “Hodgepodge” is the individuals with a messy desk that reflects the inner workings of their brains. You can add “mishmash” to this growing list that includes “mixed bag” and a writer’s laziness in typing, “etcetera” at the end of a sentence, leaving it to our imaginations to complete the writer’s thought.  In your mundane reality of living, use the word “paraphernalia” to justify your humanity and then ask your friend to spell it.
Is the routine of our predictable days so habitual that nightly television satisfies our lack of daily drama? What pushes the bed covers away in our early mornings, especially during winter months?

Is it the earned buck just for showing up or is it a growing and evolving process in your life that amounts to passion, commitment, and resolve. Is there enough passion in your life to make you smile or cry at either its success or failure? The biblical lamp oil leads us to passionate occupations and commitments. And then, ironically, that same oil keeps that flame alive and even increases its fiery blaze throughout our lives. It is the flame of life and the flame of our faith.

Flames like seeking out new insights to old problems, uncovering a new side of an old friend (“I didn’t know he had it in him!”), an important book read for the third time, the clouds formation and reformations segue into dusk, the stillness of a November evening like the one I’m witnessing writing this, the memories that earned the adjective “cherished” and those labeled “forgiven but not forgotten,” a simple, new goal to be completed the same day, a touching phrase or impressive thought told by a friend that you want to remember (but not the “this or that” friend).

Mine’s a silly list of sundry items – or is it? How often we say to ourselves, “Tomorrow, something will excite me again” while all the time, the this’s and that’s of today escapes us when today is the one and only one we genuinely hold and possess, like a burning lamp.

“Tomorrow” is sadly but safely housed in the attic of those “Same old, same old” people. Passions and commitments are the beauty and force that makes this life worthy of the value of each of our breaths.


Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS. All available on
“Soulful Muse,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
Living Faith’s Mysteries,”
inspirational reflections on the Christian seasons
of Advent/Christmas & Lent/Easter – a great seasonal gift
“Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
“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). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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