I would be needing a new pen soon. This one’s ink depletes too quickly. I’m given to pedantry by nature and I’ve got four pens that I use for specific purposes. One is red, another is black, and the last two are two different shades of blue. I use the red to underline important text when reading. I seldom use the black pen, but when I do use it, it’s for official documents like letters and essays. The pen with a dark shade of blue, I use for sketches and drawings and the one with a light shade, I use to write everything and anything! (Except, maybe, the “official documents” I use the black pen to write).
Most times, I would replace my favourite pen — the one with a light shade of blue — three times before the other three pens run out of ink. I replaced it just last Monday and its ink is just minutes away from finishing.
While writing for today’s prompt, I could see that the ink was fading and messing up what I was writing. Out of anger, I threw the pen across the room. My mom saw me throw it, then she picked it up and asked why I was frustrated at the pen. I told her that it wasn’t serving me well; it was unfair and ungrateful! I had bought it just five days ago and its ink was almost finished.
She smiled and asked, “Did you ever thank your pen during the period it served you?”
I was astonished. “Thank it? What for?”
“That’s the thing,” she said. “You don’t commend it for how much it has helped you, yet you complain for the little it has done to upset you. You don’t thank it for how much it has helped you because you don’t even realise how much it has helped you.”
“Mom, I don’t understand.”
“Of course you don’t.” She laughed. “I’ve seen you use your pen almost everytime, scribbling this and that. Sometimes, you’d wake up past midnight and pick up the pen, saying you just got inspiration for an idea and you wanted to write it down just so you don’t forget in the morning. I’ve also caught you sometimes when you’d wake up very early in the morning, pick up that same pen and start implementing on that idea you didn’t want to forget the previous night. A process that would drag on for hours. Correct me if I’m wrong but you’ve also used it as a substitute for drumsticks, am I right?”
I nodded. I still didn’t know what she was driving at.
“Now, put your self in the place of your pen. Imagine I woke you up late at night just because I wanted to tell you an idea I wanted you to remind me of the next day. And when morning came, I woke you again for us to start working on my idea and we ended up working for hours — without rest, without breakfast. Doesn’t that sound a bit selfish?”
“I guess it does.”
“You see, your pen is meant for writing, you overused it for writing and still went further by using it for other things it wasn’t made for, yet it did those things just as you wanted it to.”
I didn’t say anything.
“You’ve been selfish and your pen would have agreed with me if it were human. If you don’t notice the many things it has done for you to appreciate it, don’t notice the one thing it has done for you to criticize it.”
I stared at my pen and I started seeing things I’ve never seen before, things I’ve failed to notice. I think it smiled at me.
I felt sorry, I felt guilty.
I realized that I’ve been selfish and ungrateful to my pen that has spent its short lifetime serving me diligently. I realized that I had taken its love and diligence for granted. And I realised that that was almost the way I related to the people around me: I’ve been taking most of them for granted.
My mom later gave me her pen to use and I thanked her. Whilst writing, I kept staring at my pen, my favourite pen. For some odd reason, it reminded me of our Lord Jesus Christ.