This I Believe

C.C. - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Entered on May 30, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: change, family, hope

Two pennies are taped to the basement wall by my computer. To most people they look like two, dirty, rusty, dinged-up coins. But to me, they’re more. They are reminders to me that when life is full of despair, I have been and will continue to be blessed with good fortune.

My husband found the pennies at the park one spring evening. It was the end of a bad day for both of us. I was establishing myself as a writer, but felt like a failure. I couldn’t talk to my husband without crying. At the same time, Dan was burned out on his job. He was bitter and angry and didn’t know where to turn.

That evening, while Dan and I wallowed in our black moods, our children scampered at the park. They climbed and ran and swung confident of their skills and free of worries. The spring air blew fresh and clear. Leaves were bursting out on the trees. Despite our many blessings Dan and I couldn’t break through our gloom. Dark clouds shaded our perspectives.

And then, Dan found the pennies in the playground sand. He looked me in the eye and held them in his up-turned palm. It was a gift. I returned his gaze with tears in my eyes and smiled. The clouds of gloom parted and hope began to glimmer. We would be OK.

Some people walk past lost pennies on the sidewalk. Not me. I stoop to pick up every cent I see. I believe each found coin is symbolic of larger blessings in life—of family, friends, faith and opportunities. And I don’t want to miss a single blessing bestowed on me.

The coins I find in the grass or on the grimy floor at McDonald’s speak to me. On bad days, they tell me to be patient and persevere through my trials. They prod me to look past my temporary gloom to all that has been and all that will be. On good days, a found coin prompts me to count my blessings. I say a short prayer of thanks for what I have and vow to share my good fortune through a kind word or deed.

My family returned home from the park that spring evening with renewed hope and confidence. The coins restored our belief that things would change. And we were right.

Later that evening after sorting through the day’s mail, Dan stretched out his hand to me again. He handed me a piece of paper. It was a letter awarding him a fellowship to attend business school. It was the opportunity for him to make a fresh start. I looked at him and grinned, bursting with hope and optimism.