In the previous part of my “pen” series, I reflected on the gift and the joy of writing letters. It has drawn me closer to a unique community of people who collect and use fin writing instruments. I have connected with one particular gentleman named Peter through Instagram. He sent the first letter and I was surprised to find attached to the letter some beautiful paper with which I could continue the correspondence. looking back now I too that gift for granted. I thought it a nice gesture from a new pal, and nothing else. I responded to him and sent my small little letter to Peter 3/4 of the way across the world to the mysterious place called Australia.
Time moved on, days passed, other letter to other pen pals were written. Then, one day I receive a package in the shape of a pen box. My first thought was, “I don’t remember ordering a pen.” As sometimes can happen in the life of a pen addict, I figured I have forgotten about a quick purchase from eBay of some cheap Chinese pen. Then, I noticed the Australian postage and Peter’s name on the return address label. I wondered what it could be? So I open up the package and there before me was a pen box that says Parker. My mind began to wonder, “What’s inside?” I open the box to find a gorgeous black Parker Duofold with Gold trim.
Now rewind to a month or two previous, my original pen pal and I were discussing on Instagram our dream pens, our Grail pens as they are called. These are the pens that are beyond our budgetary constraints and would need to be saved up for or are wholly impossible or impractical to buy. The first pen on my list was part of the latter, a Montblanc Albert Einstein Limited Edition pen, which is both stunning and costs about the amount of a down payment on a car. My #2 pen was the Parker Duofold, which, to me, was and still is, the quintessential classy fountain pen. It is larger. It is sleek, and yet with the gold trim still a little showy. It just oozes class.
Much to my surprise, I found this very pen before me. I read and reread the attached letter due to my shock. I took me a good ten to fifteen minutes to glean a reason why he would send me such an extravagant gift. Finally, I found a small paragraph toward the end of the letter where Peter explained his reasoning. He saw it on my Grail list and had resolved to give it to me.
I’m not going to lie, and you may think me both crazy and overly emotional, but I cried. I was overwhelmed by such a great gift, but I was even more overwhelmed by the generosity of the giver. I deserved no such gift. We have not even become that close exchanging a mere letter each. He did it out of great generosity of heart.
I cried also because I realized that Peter was imaging to me the unconditional generosity of the Father. This is how the Father loves me. He gives me extravagant gifts. He showers graces on me which I do not deserve. He knows what I truly desire, and He set things up that I may receive what I desire.
Peter even showed me how the Lord prepares my heart. He gives me smaller gifts, like the paper, to expand my heart to receive His love even more. He knows I won’t be able to receive well, without a larger heart, He who is infinite.
Never did I think that correspondence would evoke such a reflection on God’s unconditional love. Never did I enter this correspondence journey hoping for so great a gift. Yet, there I was a grown man crying over a pen. At least it wasn’t a sniffly snotty cry.