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A Penny for You

My husband hatched a plan at dinner one night.

He had been reading Annie Dillard’s book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and was captivated by an anecdote about a game she played during childhood. She tells how she hid “precious penn(ies)” in nooks or crannies in trees or sidewalks, drawing chalk arrows to them so a stranger would find the surprise penny and pick it up.

Many times, she would lie in wait to catch a glimpse of the excitement in the finder’s eyes.

Our family mission was born: find "pennies" every day and share them at dinner (not the coppery kind, but the surprise kind, straight from the heart of a generous and tender God).

We found surprises like flowers, actual pennies, frogs, the best parking space on a rainy day, a kind word from someone, a goal scored, etc.

Often, we would joke that we had been given a “nickel,” a “dime” or even a “quarter,” depending on the magnitude of what it meant to us.

My life (and my head) is filled with negativity from the news, struggles in my home, animosity on social media, work-place uncertainty, sickness and even the death of those I love, all things that consume me by what’s wrong with the world instead of what’s right.

Doubts creep in about this God and I question His love and care for me and this beautiful, but hurting planet.

Sticking my head in the sand and pretending the “bad” does not exist is NOT a good idea, but being swallowed up by it is awful.

I have to navigate the tension between the bitter and the sweet, allowing them to sit side-by-side, both having their rightful place in my day, compassion rising within me in the bitter and joy enveloping my heart in the sweet.

The scary thing is that I don’t have to look very far to see the bitter. I am bombarded from sun up until sun down. I must open my eyes to search for the sweet, find it, and name it.

"Pennies” are just what I need.

They quiet my doubts and remind me of a God who is fully alive and loves little old me, a God who has put special pennies all throughout my day, surprise “pennies hidden” just for me.

From my heart to yours,

Esther P.S. My penny today was a new flower blooming in my yard. How about you?

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