It only takes a moment to change the rest of your life. Usually, these moments are small, and sometimes we don’t even remember them until years later. We’re funny that way. In this woman’s case, it was only a penny. One simply, dingy old penny that smelled too metallic. We can’t always pinpoint these lessons, either, so I’m always grateful when someone else has the forethought to share their story with the rest of us. I may never look at pennies the same way again!
Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at the husband’s employer’s home. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway, and cars costing more than her house.
The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live. The husband’s employer was quite generous as a host, and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so she was enjoying herself immensely.
As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband. He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment.
Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts. Still silent, the man reached down and picked up the penny.
He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny?
Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up?
Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her. Finally, she could stand it no longer. She causally mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value.
A smile crept across the man’s face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see. She had seen many pennies before!
What was the point of this?
“Look at it.” He said. “Read what it says” She read the words “United States of America.”
“No, not that; read further.”
“No, keep reading.”
“In God we Trust?”
“And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him? Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God’s way of starting a conversation with me. God is patient and pennies are plentiful!”
They spent the rest of the weekend enjoying the best things in life, and when they went back home, life returned to normal. Bills still had to be paid, the kids still had to be looked after, and their everyday worries slowly came back into the picture.
When she was out shopping a few weeks later, she found a penny on the sidewalk. She stopped and picked it up, and realized that she had been worrying and fretting about things she couldn’t change. She read the words, “In God We Trust,” and had to laugh. “Yes, God, I get the message.”
It seems that she had been finding an inordinate number of pennies in the last few months, but then, pennies are plentiful!
And God is patient…
Even if you aren’t religious, this story has a deep meaning. We can’t always control what is happening around us. We can’t always control bad situations or tragedies, but we can control how we act about them. We can remember that life is about more than the day-to-day stresses that we face. Sometimes, we have to just trust that things will work out, even if they seem impossible. Too often, the things that we’re worrying about weren’t really that “big” in the first place.
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