A few months back I got to go through stuff at my dad’s old office. There were a few boxes that no one seemed real interested in, just old papers and a lot of old mail that didn’t really seem of any value. But I am sentimental to a fault - Everything is of value.
Among the old items was something that I suppose could only mean something to me. When new I don’t suppose it was worth more than a dollar or two. But to me it was the neatest thing in the world! It was the pen you see in the picture above. It wrote in four colors - red, blue, green and black. Maybe that little gadget is what started me down the road to my love for unique little things. Here’s the story. I remember one bright sunny spring day. For whatever reason it was one of those very rare days when I had dad to myself. I can actually remember about three, maybe four of those days. With four kids just a few years apart and an extremely “workaholic mentality” it’s not surprising that that is how it was. I remember one of those days he was taking me to Kindergarten - that day stands out because that was the day dad tried to teach me to sing. Being the tone deaf boy that I was I thought higher meant louder. Dad, with his powerful baritone voice never got that I couldn’t sing. Another we were going to Marion County where he was holding a meeting at White’s Chapel. I remember that night he was working on his lesson and wanted to quote a section of Ephesians right so he kept testing himself. He would quote and ask me to correct him if he got a word wrong (yeah, sure, get one wrong. even more sure, correct him! Ha!). But on the day of this story we were going to “Baptist Book Store” - it made me nervous that dad would go to such a place. He asked me to write something down for him and handed me his pen. I was in awe. Blue barrel, a white ball on top and four push and click buttons around the outside. Man, I wanted a pen like that one. It was the coolest thing ever. That was years and years ago. Dad moved on to other pens, not as cool but much prettier and more reliable, but I still love that pen.
So, when rummaging through those boxes and finding one of those pens. I held it and wept. And then I put it aside to carry with me. I don’t even know if it writes. When I got home I put it on the little marble ledge that juts out under the mirror on our bathroom vanity. It remains there. A reminder. A memory. I value things that were his.
Most especially I value his words - because they meant something - they taught me how to live. Dad didn’t play the hypocrite. If he said something he stood by it. I’ve heard a few people since dad died twist things or just flat out misreport things he said and it both hurts and angers me. I remember going to Freed-Hardeman as a freshman and seeing that big billboard coming into town: “Teaching how to live and how to make a living” and not thinking it for one moment in a haughty manner, but thinking - I know that already - mom and dad have taught me that. This is in praise of parents who teach their children. What you do will last. Never feel that it is unimportant or insignificant.
A BONUS THOUGHT: As much as it disturbs me when one misuses my father’s words, I can only imagine how it makes Christ feel when one misuses the Word of His Father. Be aware.