The Story of the Unhappy Nail.

Dec 2012
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A cautionary tale penned by Anthony Wayne Kalberg (with apologies to the movie, “On The Waterfront.”)

Once upon a time, the way all good stories begin, there was a nail. He did what nails do best – hold things together. Now this particular nail was unhappy doing what nails do best. So he said to his fellow nails, “Hail! Nails! I’m tired of doing what we do. I want more. I wanna have class! I wanna be a contender! I wanna be somebody instead of just an old nail high up in the bell tower of this old cathedral!” His fellow nails begged him to reconsider. They attempted to make him realize how immensely influential he was to the architectural integrity of the cathedral, but alas to no avail. And then it began. The unhappy nail wiggled and squiggled out of the tight hole that for years had been his happy home. Finally he was free!

“Goodbye all you loser nails…I’m out of here! The world will soon by my oyster!” (Not that nails know a lot about oysters, he just thought it sounded sophisticated to use such phraseology.) With his fellow nails looking on and powerless to stop him, the nail suddenly found his little elongated self sliding down the side of the bell tower at warp speed. And with a resounding plop the little nail landed on the sidewalk below.

“Here I am world…and any oysters that might be in the vicinity! Come and get me! I’m all yours!” Alas, it was not meant to be. No one noticed the little nail. People walked all over him, kicked him around, and finally after much abuse he was ignominiously swept into the street, only to be washed down the drain that night during a violent rain storm, never to be heard from again. And thus ended the life of the unhappy nail. But the nail’s story does not end there.

During that same rainstorm, which swept the unhappy nail to his early demise, his fellow nails found it difficult to hold things together. Much to their horror they were unable to keep the shingles covering the bell tower in their proper place. The shingles started clattering down the side of the bell tower, landing plop, plop, plop on the sidewalk below. “Oh! Where is that silly unhappy nail when we need him!” they cried. “Without him, we are doomed!” And so was the stately cathedral.

The violent rainstorm pounded the bell tower. It started linking. A small leak became a gushing waterfall. It coated the bells in the tower, causing them to rust. It oozed into the plaster covering the cathedral’s ceiling, turning its magnificent frescos into mush. The relentless, dripping avalanche then bore down on the priceless stained glass, loosening the lead that helped hold the intricate pieces of glass in place. After the rain had ceased, the morning sunlight exposed a total ruin, the result of one nail’s unhappiness and discontent.

Are you like the nail? Unhappy where you are? Discontented with the deck of cards that Life’s dealt you? Have you ever stopped to think that the Good Master’s put you where you are because you are doing what you do best – hold things together? Ponder this: Without you, and the power you possess because of God’s influence in your life, what stately “cathedral” in your life might crumble into ruin if you were not there to help hold it up? So when you become discouraged thinking you are useless, please remember the story of the unhappy nail, who should have stayed where he was because he was doing what he did best – hold things together. And if he had, his story would have ended happily ever after…the way all good stories should end.

Take care and may God bless.

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