I “decided” to return to college in 1976. It was not an easy “decision”. An individual I knew gave me a box of pens and pencils. He had cleared his desk drawer and gave them to me. “I thought you might be able to use them when you start college in the fall.” It was a very nice gesture. Yes, I could make use of them. Most of the pencils had previous use. But they were still good and most of them still had erasers. That was important! The pens: well, most of them were advertisement pens from various vendors who have given them to the man.
I rummaged through the instruments and noticed one that looked very different from the rest. It was blackened, but it had a golden arrow pocket clasp and clicker. On closer examination, I discovered it was a solid sterling silver Parker pen that had oxidized. I showed it to the man and asked him if he realized the pen was in the collection. He looked a bit shocked and I offered the pen back. He insisted I keep it because he had given it to me amongst the mix. He continued to insist even as I suggested it might have special value to him and he was very welcome to have it back.
I cleaned up the Parker pen and it was beautiful. It was valued at $100.00 in 1976. I put the pen in safe-keeping lest I lose it. A long time later, I re-discovered the pen, re-blackened with oxidation. I cleaned it again and decided to use it. Amazingly, it never re-oxidized while it was being used on a regular basis. Though I do not know why, I stopped using the pen. Yes, as you might imagine, it re-oxidized once again. The moral of the pen? Daily use keeps the beauty. Neglect leads to oxidization. What was once beauty became unattractive black.
I have referred to that pen numerous times through the years. I tell the story and ask the person listening how he/she might be like that solid sterling silver Parker pen. It resonates. Not recognizing their value, their “pen” is left unrecognized for its beauty and value and thus goes unused. I get the moral of the story on a very personal level. I once regarded myself in a similar way. Sadly, much is overlooked and lost as a result of missing one’s value and beauty. Whose solid-sterling Parker pen do we have oxidizing in a drawer or other hiding place? It is none other than God’s. Recognizing it can make all the difference in the world. Discovering who we were created to be and what it is we were created to do is critical. Otherwise, the valuable pen is overlooked and goes unused. What a tragic loss of potential.