Paperclips are functional, especially when they’re new and not ruined from overuse. They’re also versatile. Besides being used to hold papers together, they’re used for lesser tasks: being a page marker or a pull on a zipper.
You’ll see them on floors and parking lots, discarded as useless. Many are unduly bent and/or rusty. If you find such a one in your drawer, it’s not used. New ones are chosen.
Take another look. Besides their primary function and minor uses, could they be valuable in any other way? Consider one paperclip’s story.
Hello, You know my obvious use: I hold things together, primarily paper but other things too. However, I never imagined that I could be used for greater things. I was satisfied being functional, and felt I was indispensable. At the office, I was often chosen over other paperclips because I was new, shiny and efficient.
For some unknown reason, I began to be neglected. People reached beyond me for a different clip. Why, I wondered. Then, I realized: I was getting bent out of my original shape. How did that happen? When? I felt sad. Often I was passed over, barely noticed. I was happy when I was chosen, if no others were handy, but that didn’t continue.
One day, I was sent to a supermarket holding some papers. Wow! I felt great. I had something important to do. A few weeks of scuffle among departments, and I was chosen to hold a bunch of checks together. My heart raced. I was off to a bank! My most important job in ages. I’d do my job well. They arrived safely; I was proud. At last, I was considered useful!
Again, as before, bent from use, no one paid attention to me. I hoped for something meaningful to do. I wanted a new purpose. I was sad. I was pushed around for weeks at the bank. Nobody wanted me. One day, I was picked up. I was helpful now as I held an important paper clipped to an envelope of money and handed to someone at the drive-through window. It felt great! Then the shock! That person took the paper, tossed the envelope on the seat, looked at me, and tossed me from the car. That person noticed how bent I was and had no use for me. There I lay on the parking lot. Vehicles ran over me. I felt sad.
Besides being bent, I became rusty. I was hopeless. One day, a young boy cut through the lot, spied me, picked me up, said, ‘O yeah!’ He slipped me onto a page in the science book under his arm. ‘Just what I needed!’
Me! A bent, old, rusty paperclip! He wanted me! At home, he began his experiment dealing with magnets! He used me for his project to show that even bent, old, rusty paperclips had potential. He realized that I had a strong heart of steel, and was determined to illustrate what I could yet do! He attached my one end to huge magnet full of an energy I never knew existed! It permeated me. Then, he placed my other end into a pan of objects with hearts of steel. Power rushed through me into them, they too became magnetic! I never wanted to be separated from the magnet’s energy. As long as I was attached, the flow never stopped, and its dynamism surged into others through me! Amazing! My existence now had vibrant meaning and vivid purpose. I remained there; I knew that if I’d detach, I’d be just an old, bent, rusty paperclip again. I didn’t ever want that! The boy who found me and loved me left me attached to prove to others that I, though old, bent and rusty, still had miracle-gifts to be discovered.
Remember! Your Source, Christ, is infinite. Let Him draw you to Himself in incredible ways, and know that He is ready to do even more wondrous things in, with, to and through you to change the world around you as you are vibrantly alive with His love, light, life and presence now. Stay attached! –Your friend, Special Paperclip”
What does this parable mean to you at this time of life? How can you remain attached to Christ in ways you never did before?
SR. ANGELITA M. FENKER, 83, passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. Born in Fort Wayne, Sr. Angelita was a religious Sister and educator with various educational and ecumenical organizations in the U.S and Canada for 60 years, retiring in 2007.
She started her ministry in 1947, earned Bachelors degrees in education and family studies from University of Saint Francis and Purdue University. She was an elementary teacher, principal and director of religious education in Missouri, Louisiana and Indiana. She earned her Masters degree in education administration from Marquette University. From 1973 to 1990, served as the National Associate Director of Families for Prayer, Inc, of Albany, N.Y. During this time, she also earned her doctorate degree in spirituality and family spirituality from the Graduate Theological Foundation.
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.