Thursday, July 25, 2013

The unloved pen

(This "golden oldie" NRJW post was originally published on February 3, 2006.)

More than twenty-five years ago my father gave me a gold Cross ballpoint pen he didn't like. I didn't care much for it either, and for the same reason: it was too slick and slender to fit comfortably in my hand.

I used it with no more respect than I'd have spared for a (then) 29-cent Bic. I wrote checks and grocery lists with it. I often misplaced it, but it always turned up a day or two later, between sofa cushions or on the floor of the car, or even in the washing machine.

After a couple of years I discovered how neatly the skinny pen fit inside the Bible I carried to church. I've kept it there ever since, using it to underline passages or take an occasional note. Both of my boys, when very young, used it for doodling on the church bulletins during the sermon. I did, too. I can't even guess how many times I've opened my Bible in church and seen the pen slide out and plink onto the floor. But it never rolls far, and somebody always hands it back to me.

Over the years I've lost books and contact lenses, keys and phone bills, but never that pen. When friends would admire it I'd always admit that I didn't care for it. But for some reason, perhaps because my dad gave it to me, I never offered it to anyone. Two or three times the ink cartridge ran out and I replaced it. I don't know why.

It's a little fanciful, I suppose, but I've come to appreciate the faithfulness of that little gold pen, which has stuck with me for more than half of my life. It's tucked inside my Bible right now, where I still keep it. I get a little nervous when anyone asks to borrow it.

It now fits perfectly in my hand. I hope I never lose it.

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