Hang with me while I talk about pens for a second. I promise it will all make sense.
When I was fourteen my family moved back to France – a place I had left at the age of five. My very first class in French school was science. We were two at a table. I sat next to Jean-Sebastien with the impossibly curly blond hair – Jean-Seb, I later learned he was called. When the teacher walked in, dressed in a white lab coat, everyone stood – and there I was, wide-eyed, scrambling to stand up. We stood until he instructed us to sit.
All I had was a notebook and a ball-point pen – that’s all I needed in the U.S. Jean-Seb looked at me with raised eyebrows, and handed me a fountain pen and an “effaceur” – a two-sided eraser with one side that erases the blue ink used in the cartridges for the fountain pen and the other side a permanent blue pen to write over what you’ve erased.
I had no idea that it mattered whether you wrote with a ball point pen or a pencil… And I had never written with a fountain pen. Wasn’t that kind of old-fashioned? I didn’t even know people wrote with them anymore. Soon, my trousse (pencil case) was full of the necessary tools – pencils for math, fountain pens (black and blue) for taking notes and writing tests, a 4-color ball point pen for writing titles and sub-points in your notes, and the all-important ruler – we never underlined free-handed.
Your fountain pen is a mark of your personality, in a way. You could spend 5 euros on a pen with a cartoon on it or you could spend 20 euros and really show your individuality. Ahem.
One of my first pens was green and marbled-looking. I loved how it looked. But it scratched the paper and didn’t flow right. I hung on to it for a while, but finally, I got rid of it.
I also remember a statement I tried to make with a yellow pen with Road Runner on the side. I don’t even like that cartoon. But it was bright and flashy and I thought it would get a lot of attention. It wrote ok, but it wasn’t my favorite, and nobody cared about how flashy my pen was, anyway.
My favorite pen was unexpected. I bought it, out of necessity, at the grocery store because I had lost my previous pen. It was inexpensive and plain black and grey. It didn’t look that special, but it wrote so well.
So, now you want to know what that was all about, right?
Sometimes I wish for flashy and pretty, attention and recognition when the necessary, everyday, plain and simple is best for me.
Sometimes I think I would prefer something – anything – other than washing clothes, cooking dinner, unloading the dishwasher – the mundane. But this is where I am, this is what I have been called to do. And these things are only part of my role as a mother.
“Being a parent may seem like a commonplace human relationship, but I will not be lulled into downplaying it as ordinary. My role as a mom is a deliberate strategy initiated by God to rear young boys [and girls] into godly men [and women]. And I am resolved to fulfill this calling – to be for them what God needs me to be during this critical stage in their lives.”
– Gideon study by Priscilla Shirer (p. 26)
You may not be a parent. Maybe you’re a teacher or a waitress or an artist or you’re looking for what you’re supposed to be doing. Lean in close and hear this – you have been created for a very specific purpose. God has a plan for you in our generation. You have been placed in your spheres of influence, in your geographic location, with your people for a reason.
Usually, it doesn’t seem that flashy. Usually, it’s just doing the next thing. It may not be very glamorous, but here’s my question to you and to myself –
are we doing the everyday, the mundane, the next thing – faithfully?
I can’t tell you how many freak-out moments I have wondering – what is the big picture here, God? Why am I here? What are you doing with my life? And over and over what comes back to me is – do the next thing. Faithfully.
This post is part of 31 Days – “an online writing challenge started by home blogger, Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October.”
To read all the posts in this series, check out the series page as I post the link for every day!