Today I had to go to Kroger for cat food and a couple other things to make food for the week. Along the way I picked up a penny. And then another. And on the way back home I passed a penny and a quarter next to each other. And a few blocks away I found a dime.
A lot of people would simply dismiss a penny, or even a quarter lying on the ground. After all, it’s just a penny, right? A penny doesn’t go very far at all these days, so why bother?
I didn’t grow up “poor” as most folks reckon poor to be, but with my parents’ bad choices, it felt like we were constantly doing without something because there wasn’t much money. And now that I work for myself, hanging on by a thread, I am still fairly poor economically, and life is difficult making ends meet.
When I pick up a penny, even if I have nothing else, I know I have some coin in my pocket and I can feel good that I am not “utterly poor”.
When I pick up a penny, I can add it to the other pennies I have, and all those tiny insignificant single bits can work together to help me get something. Money isn’t really a ‘thing’ itself, just bits of metal and scraps of paper. But it represents power and the means to acquire things I want or need. When all those bits come together, I can feel good that I am not “utterly powerless”.
When I pick up a penny, instead of leaving it lie on the ground, I am admitting that I am willing to accept whatever good thing happens along my path. If I can reach a penny and pick it up without walking into traffic or otherwise endangering myself or others, I will do so. It reminds me to stay open to receiving good things. I am not so proud that I can say “I don’t need that tiny insignificant thing, I only want the big and wonderful things.” And I receive even the smallest things with a glad and grateful heart.
I don’t believe in a benevolent god looking out for me (there is no such god), and I don’t even believe “the Universe” is bringing good things to me by design (the universe is actually a very hostile place for humans, and even our relatively benign planet can be treacherous). I reject all that superstitious mumbo-jumbo about “positive thinking” or “attracting good things” by some mystical force.
What I DO accept is that I am a human being with a conscience and the ability to think things through and to determine what sort of attitude I wish to experience. I wish to experience genuine gratitude, as much as I can anyway, for whatever good things come along for me to access.
So I pick up pennies when I find them.