On Pens and Patience

As a graduation gift from three years of ups and downs but more downs than ups a.k.a. seminary, Chris gave me a beautiful soft leather-bound journal filled with unlined recycled paper, marked specifically for me withmy initials carved on the front flap. As soon as I set eyes on it and rummaged through the thick empty pages, I knew this special gift was going to be used selectively and carefully. I immediately decided I wasn’t going to treat it like previous journals and notepads, and that meant using a really good pen.

The problem with that decision was that I didn’t own a really good pen. I had colorful pens and pens I had picked up from beer festivals and random places, but no really good pen.

About two weeks after I received this gift from Chris, during which I still hadn’t found a really good pen, I had my first ROW stuff to do. This ROW stuff took me well outside of the perimeter where I had to get in front of the camera and “act.” In between “scenes” the Old Man of ROW was kind enough/excited enough to show me some fascinating items he had picked up along his 20+ years of traveling. Imagine snake skins that were longer than my wingspan, animal heads mounted on the walls (made me a little sad), knives galore, older than me medicine bottles, a shrunken person head, you know, the usual.

After my brain activity settled from all of the stimuli, Old Man handed me something and said, “You like to write, right?” I answered, “Sure do!” to which he responded by saying, “This is a Mont Blanc. It’s a really good pen. And here are some ink cartridges.”

I wanted to hold the pen above my head and scream MY PRECIOUS even though I had zero confidence in what the words “mont” and “blanc” signified. But, I choked and just said, “Wow. Thank you very much.” But seriously, MY PRECIOUS had unexpectedly arrived and alas, here was the really good pen my leather-bound journal needed.

I learned something from that two week process. There’s something about being patient for the right match. Maybe that’s a relationship you’re longing for or the urge to adopt a dog or cat. Perhaps it’s a new or different job or the tricky task of finding the right spiritual home. Boy, is it easy to force things and make rash decisions! I could have dove right into that monogrammed leather-bound journal with recycled pages using my colorful pens and beer fest pens. I’m glad I didn’t.

It’s an overused piece of advice only because of the truth it speaks: there’s just something about being patient.


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