The Pen of Life (a parable)

The father loved his child more than she could possibly imagine. She was his delight, the apple of his eye, his image-bearer. It was the thrill of his heart to give his beloved daughter a gift but he knew that in the giving of the gift, a choice would be made.
The girl’s heart thrilled as she took the alabaster box from her father’s hand. It was so beautiful and unique. She knew this was no ordinary gift. As she opened it, her eyes met an iridescent pen made of pearl. She picked it up out of the treasured box ever so gently and felt the weight of it in her small hand. ‘This was no ordinary pen’ she thought to herself.
Reading her thoughts, the father said to the child, “This is the pen of life. With it you can write your story. Whatever you write will come to pass.” The father’s words were ominous but the child was already imagining the possibilities.
“I am going to write my story so that I have everything I ever want,” the child said, expecting the father to agree and be pleased. Instead, he asked her, “But what if what you want isn’t good for you?”
“Well,” the child replied, “then I will write my story so that I will never experience any pain.” To this, the father replied, “how will you ever grow without pain to show you what needs healing?”
“OK,” the child said, “I will write my story so that everyone likes me all the time.” The father asked, “even if everyone likes you, will you like yourself? Sometimes it is the people that don’t like us that challenge us to see ourselves as we truly are.”
“Then,” said the child, “I will write my story so that I know everything. I will be the smartest person on earth.” The father smiled and said, “You can be the smartest person on earth but still not have wisdom, my child.”
“Fine,” the child sighed, “I will write my story so that I am always happy.” The father waited before replying with, “how will you really know happy if you don’t know sad?”
The two sat in silence a long time gazing at the beautiful pen. The wise child gently placed the pen back into the alabaster box. She shut the lid and placed the box tenderly in her father’s hand.
“This pen holds too much power for me, father. I want you to write my story.”
The father smiled, removed the pen from the box and began to write as he lovingly gazed at his beloved child.

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