Saturday, February 7, 2015

Find a Penny… by Kirstin Udall

My grandmother seemed to have a surplus of sayings that she would offer up in times when needed, or in her later years they would surface in seemingly normal conversation, but didn’t always fit the situation being discussed.  Nevertheless, her little sayings always fascinated and entertained me.  As an adult, I sometimes giggle at how and when they pop into my head, or spill out of my mouth in conversation! 
One of these little adages was, “FIND A PENNY PICK IT UP – ALL THAT DAY YOU’LL HAVE GOOD LUCK”.  I remember as a young girl feeling so lucky if I would come across a shiny penny on the ground!  I was sure to snatch it up and then begin to observe my surroundings more closely during the day, to see what LUCK would befall me.  Sadly, I can’t tell you anything in particular that occurred because of this act, but I do remember how much more observant I was of the people around me, and what they were doing.  I had such great examples of “doers” to watch. I witnessed family members do nice things for the people around them. I took more notice of the daily chores and favors that my mom, or grandmas, did for the family and me.  It didn’t seem like LUCK, but rather WORK.  So the LUCK I was waiting to emerge in my life was never readily apparent to me.  Needless to say, I didn’t buy into my grandma’s advice about the luck thing.  I even asked her what I should do with the pennies that I had found, picked up, and not received any luck from.  She responded, of course, with another saying: “Save them for a rainy day.”  She was a puzzling character indeed to a small girl! But since my grandma had said it, I knew it was special and I should remember it and try to live up to the advice!

As I have grown up, I have made the connection that I was “lucky” for several reasons; not because a magical thing called LUCK was floating around waiting to bless me, but rather because the people around me were willing to help me on my journey.   I have come to realize that not everyone has this LUCK or blessing in their life.

The other day I was getting a soda at Whiting’s Quick Stop.  A guy in front of me was paying and didn’t wait to receive his change.  It was a couple of pennies, and the clerk tossed them into a tray at the side of the register.  He rang up my total,  86 cents,  and I handed him a dollar.  He handed me back two dimes for my change.  When he saw the puzzled look on my face, he quickly said, “I used four of those so you could get silver back…” he was gesturing to that little penny tray. He smiled at me and said, “Your lucky day I guess!” and I blurted out, “I didn’t even have to pick them up.”  I smiled at him, and he gave me a puzzled look, and I went to my car.  My thoughts began to tease me, “I wonder if the LUCK is valid still if I didn’t even have to work to pick them up?”  I don’t consider myself superstitious by any means, but I do read into things sometimes.  I began to think of how invaluable a penny has become.  How many people will cast them aside or, even throw them away as meaningless.  And yet here I was walking away with 4 extra pennies that someone else deemed unimportant.  By the worlds standards, these 4 pennies weren’t the jackpot, but I thought of how many times I had used that “extra penny” to make up the difference in a purchase that required one more cent than what I had, and how valuable even 1 cent became in that instance, and how “lucky” I was that it was there…   most people wouldn’t see the big deal in a penny, but when you think of how all those pennies can add up, or be spread out to help many, they seemed a little more valuable to me.

A few weeks later I was teaching a lesson at church, and we were discussing expressions of love and gratitude.  I had everyone present choose a penny from my penny jar, to be a reminder of the blessing we could be in others lives.  Sometimes we feel invaluable or incapable, and of no worth to anyone else, but the reality is that any amount of assistance we give, sooner or later someone will benefit from the effort made.  That is what I believe “LUCK” is… it is someone taking the time, no matter the amount, to serve someone else, and make their life a little, or sometimes a lot easier.  It lightens their load, mood, and even their attitude about life.  One sister added this thought to the discussion… she said, “Think of the words on the front of a penny.. IN GOD WE TRUST.  Now that’s the luckiest thing we could ever believe in.  So when I find a penny, I try to think of a blessing God has given me and spend a moment in gratitude.”  I loved this idea! And me being the type to “read more into things”, suggested we take a challenge to not only “Find a penny, pick it up, but also take notice of where we find it.  Then try to find someone living, or standing around that location, and find a way to serve them. Several suggestions were made of how we could do this and they ranged from a simple smile that could be offered in friendship, a compliment rendered, a commitment of service, or even a financial contribution; whatever a person felt able to give at the time.   Imagine the wave of goodness that could roll forth from the simple act of finding a penny! 

I know that God lives.  I know that he loves us.  I also know that he trusts us to do His work.  I know that in its most basic form this means that we should love and serve others as he would.  In other words BE THE LUCK in someone’s life.  Look for someone who is have a "rainy day" and spend your service on them!  We might not ever realize how our kind acts, “make up the difference” in the scheme of things, but I believe that every single one adds up to spreading God’s love, and that can never be invaluable or worthless.

I read recently an addition someone made to the penny poem:

I would like to add that the “FAITHFUL FRIEND” in my opinion is God… He has given us a way to return to live with him.  That is our true luck… and also a great responsibility He has placed with us.  He trusts us that we will work to help each other on our journeys.  

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff. What a blessing to have grandparents who love, teach, and influence our lives.