Saturday, November 14, 2015

Pennies From Heaven

When (self-examination, meditation, and prayer) are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for life. The “Twelve and Twelve”

The other day I was merrily waltzing along the walks of downtown Ennis when I espied a shiny object on the ground. As is my custom, I bent down to get a better look, discerned it was a penny, and picked it up.

I have been told there are people who will not stoop so low as to pick up such a small sum of change, but I am not one of them. I believe pennies are more valuable than we realize. For one thing, without them, life in America would make no cents!

For another – and this is very personal and could be TMI for a family publication – but one of my earliest memories is that of being a toddler – probably two or three years of age – and finding a penny on the floor at home.

How do I remember such a small incident as that? Well, as poor as my memory often is, I recall finding the coin, picking it up with my chubby little mitts, and then gnawing on it as kids often do.

When my mother noticed how unusually quiet life was around the house, she came to investigate and noticed I was obviously enjoying chewing on something she hadn’t given me, but before she could pry open my yap, I swallowed that little Lincoln headed morsel.

I figure it must have been quite valuable, for over the next few days mother checked to see if I had processed the coin. In hindsight (you can take that any way you wish), I suspect she was concerned that it might have gotten lodged somewhere in my plumbing, so it was probably my health she was concerned about more than the coin.

To my knowledge it never passed, which may explain why later in life I chose to become a copper, but that’s another story.

Taking in money at such an early age, it is no wonder that I eventually became an ATM. I had school-aged children and hardly a day went by where they didn’t have to make a withdrawal for lunch, field trips, fund-raisers, and the like.

While I may have groused, whined, and complained, I really didn’t mind. It was always a pleasure to see them smile and hear what sounded like heart-felt thanks as they ran screaming and cheering their way out the door to catch the school-bus with their neighborhood pals.

Getting back to my tale, the point is, I cannot pass up a coin that’s lying about without picking it up. It isn’t that it will really do me much good (beyond the exertion required to bend down and rise again – a metaphor for resurrection if there ever was one), but I just can’t leave it lay, lie, or stay there.

A coin in the gutter has no value. A coin in a fountain brings luck and love – we all know that – but a bit of copper or silver lying underfoot is useless.

That’s why I can’t leave them in the street or on the sidewalk. I don’t pick them up in order to keep them, but to return them to circulation – to allow them to fulfill their destiny.

If that is true of coins, how much more so is it true of one another? There are some people you talk to and they make your feel like a million bucks. They pick you up. There are others who make you feel like the stuff my mother sifted through to find that lost treasure so long ago. I don’t know that I am often successful, but I know I would rather be the first type.

With my kids, I never felt like they took advantage; they only asked for what they needed. If I had a complaint, I thought they sometimes asked too little of me (but I kept that concern to myself); when I was able to, I would try to give them extra, “just in case,” and if they didn’t need the extra, I’d let them keep it, “just because.”

We’re all pennies from heaven – coins of the realm. We are tokens of God’s love; God picks us up, cleans us off, and sends us out with joy to fulfill our destinies in this, our valley.