I visit Trevis Gleason’s FB page and blog just about everyday. Yesterday, Trevis’s post (in the spirit of Thanksgiving) asked: “For what are you most thankful?”
I am truly thankful for many things–too many to list individually on a FB comment. I tried to narrow the list down before I clicked on the “post” button; but even then, the list was still pretty long. I switched perspectives: What is one thing that has made a significant impact on my gratitude for all good things?
Hardly anyone stops to pick up a penny anymore.
Maybe it’s just not worth the physical effort; or perhaps folks don’t believe a penny makes a difference in the spending power or saving value of their pockets and purses.
Nowadays, I always stop to pick up a penny.
It’s not because of its monetary value; instead, I understand it as a gift too valuable to ignore or toss aside. There’s a long story here that justifies my penny-picking-up attitude and actions; but I’ll try to make it short…
In the days immediately following the death of my sweet Daddy in September 2006, I started finding pennies–lots of them. The very first one I found was inside the pocket of a fleece jacket I had given my Dad for Christmas a few years earlier. The day after his funeral, I had pulled the jacket out of a closet and wrapped myself in it. I didn’t really think too much about finding the penny in the pocket of that jacket until the next day when I discovered another one, this time in the toe of my shoe as I slipped it on. I continued to find pennies as the days went by…inside books, inside my mail box, in sweater and coat pockets, and even once inside a folded newspaper. The more I found, the more I started paying attention to the timing and circumstances surrounding the finds.
Coincidence? I don’t think so.
The first Thanksgiving following Daddy’s death our family gathered at the beach condo that my parents had purchased just a few months before my dad died. Knowing how much my Dad had been looking forward to spending time at the beach, I knew that particular Thanksgiving was going to be a tough one. On the drive down to Cherry Grove, I stopped for fuel at a convenience store and found a penny on the ground. I picked it up and put it in my pocket before continuing my journey.
I was grateful for that penny, yes; however, when I arrived at the condo and discovered another shiny one lying on the mat at the front door, I almost fell to my knees. The only thing that made sense of it all was that my Dad was letting me know that everything was good and as it should be; that although it might be a tough few days for our family, I would be alright; and that he was still there and would be forever.
That’s the abridged version of the story. Trust me, I could go on and on about other pennies I have found since then. A general footnote to the longer version is that the pennies usually come at a time when I need them most. None has increased my monetary wealth; however, every single one has equaled far more than what can be bought or earned in this life. I’ve saved each one I’ve found and kept it close to the heart.
By now, you can probably understand my “thing” about finding pennies. I’m pretty sure it will continue to be a “thing” for me as long as I live. And while “finding pennies” might be kind of an unusual response to Trevis’s question, “For what are you most thankful?” (e.g. family, friends, home, etc.), it represents my story of how such a simple gift can change the way one views his or her blessings.
This afternoon, I am heading back to Cherry Grove Beach for a few days, grateful to have a special place to reflect on prayers and thanksgivings for family, friends, memories…and yes, pennies.