I think it was the fourth grade when we were required to bring an ink pen to school. What a big step that was! The writing drills, spelling tests had all been for a greater purpose.
So we could write with something that you could not erase. I was now required to think before writing.
Into my fourth grade cigar box of school supplies I proudly placed my new Sheaffer. ball point pen.
I learned that an “ink eraser” didn’t really erase the mistakes.
Drawing a line through the mistake was frowned upon by the teacher.
Balls of wadded up paper were hurled at trash cans in the corner countless times.
The teacher also frowned on this practice.
When BIC came out with a 15 cent pen, well, now anyone can have a pen, can’t they? No more shelling out for those fine 1.29 Sheaffers or Parkers. And, if you lose a 15 cent pen, it’s not a big deal.
So, because I grew up with a BIC pen, I doubt that I ever paid more than five or six dollars for a nicer version. Someone gave me a Cross pen and pencil set for my high school graduation. I don’t know what it cost, but it was nice. Smooth.
All this is to tell you about my latest heartbreak.
On August 27th, Wendy took me into an antique shop in Mineola, Texas. This particular shop carried thes kind of stencil things that she is using in one of her craft deals. ( That is enough technical talk)
A man can only look at so many clear plastic stencils. “Which one of these four do you think are the best?” she would ask me.
They were all clear, no color, and my imagination just could not see the final product. “The sunflowers,” I said. “Or the lemons.”
I sneaked to the front of the store, pretending to be interested in something.
And then, I saw it!
The manliest pen I had ever seen. There, on the counter was a pen made from a 50 caliber shell.
“Now, that is a pen I would like to have,” I thought.
Then I saw the thirty dollar tag. The old, BIC owning fellow inside me put it down.
Wendy saw me looking at it. She could see my longing. “You should buy that,” she said.
And I did.
All week long, every invoice for work, every check, every deposit slip was written with this brave pen who had tasted the real life war time battle.
I showed him to everyone.
I loved this pen.
One week and one day later, my brother, Jeff came into town and we went to the cafe for lunch. When I signed the bill for lunch, I showed him my treasure.
“Man, don’t take that into an airport, they’ll throw you in jail,” he laughed.
I was so proud.
I put him back into my pocket, and Jeff drove me home.
The next day, I was getting dressed, and I couldn’t find my pen. WHERE IS MY PEN?
I texted Jeff and asked him if it had fallen out of my pocket into his truck.
I retraced all my steps from the day before.
It was gone.
My sadness was real. My heart was crying a little bit. It was gone.
Seven days later, Wendy said, “ You lost it? You should have let me engrave your name it!” (She had suggested that.) “Have you looked everywhere?” (Obviously, I hadn’t looked everywhere , or I would have it.) “Why don’t you call the cafe?”
I called the cafe.
The guy said, “Yes, it is in my desk drawer.”
“I will be there in five minutes!”
He brought the pen out to me. I gave him 10.00. “Give this to the one who found it and turned it in.” Now I had a 40 dollar pen.
I had him back. The world was good, and everything was fine now.
Wendy engraved my name and phone number one it. “ You should have let me do this when I suggested it in the first place.” (You’re right, Honey.)
The next morning I stuck him in my pocket to go to church.
Monday, I could not find him.
It’s been a week, now. I still feel an inner sadness.
But, to be fair, when he saw me approach him at the antique shop, a 5’6 1/2” white beard old man, he probably thought, “no, not him. I’ve seen war, carnage, fire, smoke.
He will probably just stick me in his pocket and show me to all his friends.”
And he escaped. Twice.
He didn’t realize that I, too, am fighting a battle, waging a war of faith and words, doing battle against an enemy that only wants to steal from me, kill and destroy me.
Someone once said, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”
He can come back and help me fight this war.
Because, now, he has my name.
I was bought before I even had a clue that I needed someone to rescue me.
I slipped out of His pocket for years, living the life that I chose for myself.
He felt a deep sadness, as I ran after my own ways.
Looking for that success, that excitement.
When he found me, He gave me the Life that I had been looking for, and I will never be lost again.
And now His name is engraved on me.