Why a pen and a pen are no different — and how it affects our well-being.
So I saw in a certain light this thing:
The old man took his cane and walked slowly to his pen of flocks. The light was making its way out, it was time for it to go way, and the dark knew its time for it to take over. But what the sun left behind was enough to see.
His pen of sheep was large, and he owned it. He lifted one foot and set it on top of a rock that lay close to the pen’s metal railing. He counted all of the animals, made sure of the number, and nodded. They were well, and it pleased him that some of the females had recently had new young, and all of them were filled with life and zest, making jumps and hops, here and there without end.
“Good,” he said to himself. He looked up to the heavens and whispered something. And as he lowered his head, he closed his eyes for a few minutes, opened them again, and turned toward his hut.
The journey has been long, starting with two sheep, but he’s here now, with a sizable number. He has enough to feed himself and his family. And the merchants in town make good use of his lambs for fur to make clothes for those in need.
He knows his pen.
The young man wanders what he is to make of his life. What should he do to make ends meet?
Surely, he has no wealth laid up for him from his forefathers. He has to fend for himself. One day, while lying down, he heard this saying: “Write.” “What?” he asked upon waking up.
Sure he has some knowledge, and has insight about a number of things that most people don’t know about, and could use. He has had his fair share of challenges growing up and still wrestles with a few things every now and then. Through it all, he has learned quite a bit — a considerable amount. Yet all of that is in his head, buried.
He was considering all this after waking up. He sat for a while, and went back to sleep. “Write,” he heard again in his sleep. This time he took a pen and paper and started writing a few things down.
The point of these 2 stories is that the difference between the sheep owner and the young man is a simple pen. The pen the sheep owner uses to corral his his sheep and keep count of them is what keeps his stock — that’s how he knows what he has, what he owns. In our day and age, if he owned products, he’d be wise to keep them in a warehouse.
And when you looked at the word ‘warehouse’ it should tell you a lot. “Ware” literally means knowledge, as in “beware” — which is to say ‘know,’ get knowledge. So the businessman keeps his wares, the things he knows in a ‘house’, his ‘ware’ house.
So the voice the young men heard while he was asleep was simply God calling him to start documenting his knowledge, what he knows, and start building a ‘warehouse.” Sure, he doesn’t have physical products like the sheep farmer, but he has knowledge that he can start gathering by writing them down, and when he has it enough of it gathered, he can start fine tuning them, and begin to build a ‘knowledge house,’ his ‘ware’ house.
Why not just keep it in all in his head, in his memory? Ever heard the saying a short pencil is better than a long memory? Right, sure the memory can hold knowledge for a while, but with the busyness of life and the daily stresses of everyday living, the memory slowly fades — not to mention the advance of age?
Think of Alzheimers and dementia that hits most folks as they get older. Most of these people take all of their knowledge to the grave because they simply did not document it — and it’s all then lost to the world.
Tell me — who has the greatest memory of all if not God himself? And sure to teach and instruct us on what to do, we know he has unlimited power to go on forever and keep reminding us of what to do, yet he made a wise move not to do that — he put all of His thoughts in a book, the Bible, so we can simply pick it up and figure out what his thoughts are. Doesn’t that make his job easier? We can easily refer to things we need to know from Him without He having to tell us over and over again.
Write down everything you know
Okay, imagine the young man writes out — bit by bit over a long period — every he knows, and stores it in a book. Does he now own something that he can give to someone else? Sure, if the knowledge he gathers is good and solves a problem in someone else’s life, can he simply make copies of it and give it to as many people who find it useful? I trow.
Now, if he does that, is he trading? Sure, he is, and what’s the benefit of trade if not profit and increase?
In other words, he has created something that’s tradeable, and if he takes that knowledge and starts start sharing with the right people, he will begin to use that knowledge to start solving problems in the lives of his readers and then possibly create a product — a book, a course, a handout — anything that has writing as a major component ( like the sheep giving birth to young ones) and begin to turn his life around.
Teach everything you know
So think of the old man taking the pen off and letting his sheep run wild. Before long he wouldn’t have any — wild animals would pick some off, others will stray, thieves will take in a few, and the elements will kill some off. And the most dangerous of it is the inability of the sheep to mate and give birth to new young.
So is the mind — when we don’t document what we know and the value of it. With time, crazy things happen in our lives and that takes some of it away from us, stress and fears steals a few more, and the opinions of others that are contrary to what we know and believe will begin to erode our faith in what we know, and before long we are not sure what we know or believe. We have lost our ‘wares,’ and our warehouse is lost in the process.
Yet if you have a safe place — a pen — you will do well to keep your ‘wares’ in a safe place, a container of some sort that will secure it. And that’s where a the perfect container to keep your knowledge safe.
And then after, share it. What’s a sundial in a shade? Nothing is of value if hidden away from others.
Stuff like what?
Stories from your childhood. Anything that you do that leads to a good result. Even mistakes you made, or make, are all sources of knowledge that you can use to teach a point in your writing. Thing you observe while shopping, things at the airport, heartbreaks, failures, and all sorts of knowledge that you can dig up and start documenting. Hidden in all that knowledge are gems of truth and insight that will helps others.
Yes, it will not all come out in one sitting nor at once, but you’ve got to start small and start writing. Start with a few words here and there. Carry a paper notebook, or journal with you everywhere you go. Or, download Evernote.
Ball Point Pen
You know what a ball-point pen is, right? Okay, you know that it has a well of ink that’s designated for writing, and until you turn it downward onto paper that ink will not flow? So it is with our memories and the ‘knowledge bank’ in our heads — until we consciously sit to write, what’s hidden in the recesses of our mind, memory, and experiences will not come out.
Better still download Medium’s mobile app, and use the draft feature to catch a thought or two every now and then. Write down an observation. Reading an article? What do you notice, or what sparks an idea that makes you think of things you have forgotten? Don’t lose them — write them down.
The pen of the sheep farmer is no different from the pen you have to gather your thoughts. The business man has a warehouse, and you also have one — in your head — how do you gather it?
So if you know something that’s useful to other people, document it, share it — pen it — just as the sheep owner creates a pen to keep his property safe so he can multiply it so can you also use your pen.