Pennies from Heaven
I believe in pennies from heaven,small round reminders that heaven is happening all around us. Behind the backdrop of the evening news, which insists we explore every island of human cruelty in an ocean of human grace, myriad moments of heaven are experienced and created. Offstage, outside of the news camera’s frame, people are making their children giggle, remembering each other’s birthdays, learning new dance steps, dipping their toes in rivers, licking the bowl, dressing up, whistling, snuggling, joking and dreaming-all around the world. People are crying and grieving too, but the heaven still determinedly makes its presence known in those hells; other human beings hold your hand, give something of theirs, empathize, or just stay when they don’t understand at all. I believe pennies emerge to remind us of that.
Pennies pop out of nowhere-while tying your shoe in a crowd, as you readjust your chair, or when cleaning out your closet. They sneak into linty linings of pockets, display on sidewalks, and mingle in unswept corners. They are inspgnificant in our eventful lives (who waits for change on $4.99?) and our ambitious bank accounts ( round it off to the nearest dollar), and yet we notice them. They catch our eye, drawing our attention for a breath. The rushing mental conveyor belt of to-dos,worries,wishes, and plans grind to a halt, and a single simple thought enters.”Oh, there’s a penny” Maybe even “A penny for good luck” By golly, we might even just bend over to pick a penny up.
And in that split second stop, we can notice the heaven that is right here and now: look up and see a cloud show, billowy white backlit with sunshine against a periwinkle wash; admire our shoes, smart and sassy little black leather thingw with detailing stitched around the toe; laught at ourselves or smile at someone else. In that stop, we can call forth the heaven that was: re-live an evening of Rhapsody in Blue and too-rich chocolate sauce; recall kind words spoken in a time of sorrow that, as promised, has passed. In that stop, we can scheme a moment of heaven to create in the future.
Any penny will work really-a shiny copper 2006 flasher or a dull greenish 1959 relic. The point is to take the penny’s offering: let it connect you to the ongoing, ever-present heaven that, in spite of and in the midst of it all, always is and always will be.
This my mother taught me, so this, I believe.
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