Meanwhile in the Vineyard of Good and Evil


Dear Henry,

We heard the Parable of the Vineyard Workers a few months ago, and it has been bothering me since. You remember the story, right? A vineyard owner hires workers for his vineyard. Then, the owner goes out and brings in more workers throughout the day. At the end of the day, all workers are paid the same wage, even those who have only worked in the vineyard for an hour.

I had been told before that this was a representation of heaven. It doesn't matter when you begin to pick up God's work; the reward for us all will be the same. 

But it doesn't seem fair, particularly for those who have always worked in God's vineyard and have been there the entire day (which, I should say, is definitely not me; I didn't show up in the vineyard around 3pm) 

It wasn't until I heard Bishop Robert Barron's Homily that I wondered if I wasn't interpreting the parable inaccurately.

Bishop Barron brought up St. Catherine of Siena's famous "The way to heaven is heaven" quote. I began to realize that, like the Prodigal Son, the message isn't about the rewards we have received from God for doing His work but rather our inability to see how lucky we are to have been chosen to work in the vineyard at all.

In other words, by accepting God's will and doing His work, you will be in "heaven." I must say, homilies like this make me question the meaning of words like heaven, blessings, and grace and I have been fussing about the parable ever since.

After reading Albert Camus's "Myth of Sisyphus, " I began to feel a little more comfortable with the parable.

Sisyphus is a Greek mythological figure who is fated to push a boulder up a hill for eternity. The scenario seems like hell to me, pushing a rock uphill only to have it roll back down to the bottom over and over again. But, as Camus pointed out, many of us do things every day that are just as meaningless, and yet, we still feel satisfaction and pleasure at the end of the day from a job well done. 

In other words, if you "own the stone" as your "mission," then the absurdity of doing the same mindless thing over and over again will be a joy. I can see that.

But I still don't feel like I'm in heaven. 

I may have had an epiphany, though. Despite having a couple of "stones (the bucket list and the Everyday Patriot project), I don't work on them, at least not like I should, if I want to get the boulder up the hill.

However, I am happy to help others roll their stones up the mountain, even though I afterward feel sad because I have gotten nowhere with my rock.

While I believe our "missions" should be service-oriented, I've decided we need to guard the time we allot to them selfishly. Otherwise, we will never get our rock up the hill, not even once, and we will regret not getting it done. 

I've reached the tipping point where I need to focus on my rock and not take on any more projects.


I saw this really pretty St. George and the Dragon filet crochet tablecloth pattern, and a friend of mine talked about creating a craft group; although it's been a long time since I've crocheted (and I was never good enough at it to create something like that), I may pick up this stone too.

xoxo a.d. elliott

Check out the YouTube here:


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, photographer, and storyteller currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

In addition to the travel writings at, you can also read her book reviews at and US military biographies at

Her online photography gallery can be found at


Like my page? Please consider supporting my work by visiting my sponsors, my webshop, or by buying me a cup of coffee!