One Tiny Flame

The Parable of My Tiny Flame on My Kitchen Table

(Please listen for these four words and their application to your lives)
single flame:  the pilot light of our lives that burns that is needed to burn throughout our lives.

scent:  the promises of life that are not always realized; whether real or imagined.

wax: those who support and encourage us keep the flame alive and those who intrude wanting us to be like them overwhelm the single flame.

re-enactments: in reflection, we often try to redo or reshape already made decisions, or unmade decisions, missed opportunities, or opportunities that went sour as though enacting them again will change the result.

There it is, lit. It took longer to light this time because the wick is lower and I just can’t seem to reach deep enough inside to relight it.  But I did.

The house is still heated, I can’t rely on that little flame to flame forth a comfortable, warm winter home. Heck, if I quickly stood up right now I think it’d go out. Oh, wait. Forget that. I just tried it and it didn’t go out; this little, small flame on my kitchen table with a supposed spruce scent that “fills the room” as the box falsely described. I didn’t buy the candle for the scent although a nice scent would be nice.

It flickers, ever so slowly as it tries to keep itself alive. The wax surrounding it allows the tiny flame to stay lit. Is it enough to turn off the kitchen light? I’m not even trying because it’s a silly question. If it can’t heat, it certainly can’t illuminate.

I like the teeny flame because it seems to show everything when it’s barely shows anything. If folks walked into my kitchen now they would not say, “Oh, what a beautiful flame you have going here.” It wouldn’t be noticed. It would remain an unsaid piece in the room. None would comment on the scent as the box described and our conversation would move to topics that interest them.

But they are not here. It is just me and a single, miniature version of those real flames that surround a veteran’s memorial or a park’s statue. My tiny flame doesn’t mark great and grand events but only the passing thoughts that pass my mind as quickly as they enter. Random, varied; none solved or resolved. Perhaps a few reenactments of life’s happenings that cannot be re-enacted run through my mind. In my mind, it seems productive even when the reproduction turns out the same. It’s my single flame. 
I considered a larger candle, hence a larger flame but thought, “Why?” as I stare at my small version.

Wax builds up around fueling my flame. That same surrounding wax can keep my tiny flame vibrant and alive but the same wax can also drown it. Without careful observation on my part, the wax may extinguish my undersized flame. Interesting how the needed wax can also become the drowning wax. I need to keep the minute flame lit every minute I observe it. And, even more, interesting is that my tiny flame is what makes the wax heated.

One flame. In spite of the box description, no scent. No one around to comment, criticize, weigh, or measure my kitchen flame with my meandering, momentary, passing thoughts. Watching carefully now so the heat-filled wax only strengthens and doesn’t diminish.

It’s my night. It is my single flame. I don’t mind that I missed out on the promised scent. It’s my flame. And, in the darkness of winter, my tiny flame is all the more important. 

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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