On our way back to the car, on a cold February night, I spotted a familiar dull, dark object on the ground. I bent down to claim my prize find. Triumphantly I stood up, put my prize inside my mitt and we continued on our way. The cold object started to warm up inside my mitt and I was pleased with myself for having rescued it from the frozen sidewalk.
My friend, a recent immigrant to Canada, broke the silence when he asked: “Why did you stop to pick up a penny? Most people just leave them.” I was speechless which, for those who know me, is not a common thing. Fingering the penny inside my mitt I could feel the design imprint on the cool, no longer frozen, metal. After some time of reflection I came to understand what prompts me to go to all of the effort of bending down for a penny.
I could hear the commercials running in my head: “For only pennies a day you can help a child less fortunate than you.” “Your pennies can make a difference.” Although a penny has little value in our society it does have value. I realized that I don’t ever want to feel that I am too good or too rich to bend down to pick up a penny. The penny may not seem like much but it helps to remind me of how fortunate I am and to thank God for all of the blessings I have in this world. It helps me to remember that there are a lot of people out in the world who are less fortunate than I and to whom a penny may mean a lot.
The more I thought about it, the warmer the penny seemed to get in the palm of my hand. It felt like it was glowing. Picking up a penny has a humbling impact. The physical act of bending down to pick up the penny is humbling. Bowed that night before my friend and God, I picked up something that may seem useless to some while others in our world see it as hope.
I kept that penny in my mitt for the next few weeks and often reflected upon the power of the “humbling penny.” One penny may not seem significant but one by one they start to add up. I started to think about all of those pennies tucked away in piggy banks and boxes in closets and drawers. What if we collected all of these pennies and donated them to a worthwhile cause.
My fiend, on that cold winter night, was a doctor of infectious diseases who specialized in AIDS. I started formulating the idea of holding a Penny Drive and I thought it fitting to have the proceeds go to help people suffering from Aids.
My family supported me in this fundraising campaign. We set up a bucket in the church foyer and for several weeks we collected pennies. Each Sunday after church we came home and everyone helped to roll the pennies and other loose change we had collected.
By the time we were finished we had collected over $700. We had rolled over 50,000 pennies by hand! I have no idea how much that all weighed but I felt great compassion for the gentleman from the church who was responsible for depositing the change at the bank.
We had fun,shared some great family time and we helped others. I say “Thank You” to the penny for all of the great times and experiences we shared. My children remember that fund raiser and I am sure it helped them to learn more about helping others. My role as a Reiki practitioner and teacher is a constant reminder to me of how we can help others and share our gifts and talents. No matter how small we think our efforts are, they add up to something much bigger. One lost penny became over 50,000! Remember that nothing we do for others is ever too small.
Keep a penny for old times sake and as a reminder of all that we have to be thankful for.
Take Care and Keep Smiling,