I am a former "lots of things". Evangelical, pastor's wife, Stepford girl, coward. I grew up in a faith that teaches a sort of fake-it-til-you-make-it gospel, so I spent many years being a prop and wondering why it wasn't working for me. But I am none of those anymore.
I am Catholic. A Southerner and a natural extrovert - God have mercy on you if you're ever stuck in line at the grocery store with me. I'm a passionate defender of my faith. A desperate learner. An enheartening mom. An explorer of people's beautiful complexities. An open heart. A collector of powerful words. A Wolverine.
Although my writing may not always show it, my default setting is joy. I can't help myself. Even when I'm in a bad mood, I'm still in a pretty good mood.
Why "Picking Up Pennies"?
Many years ago I read a book in which a young girl, who was secretly being raped by her father, stepped out of a downtown department store and stopped to pick up a penny just outside the door. A delivery boy tripped over her, splaying boxes all over the sidewalk. A man walking by happened to get caught up in the chaos and fell on both the girl and the delivery boy. Store customers rushed outside to see about the commotion. One of those customers, a well-to-do lady in town, picked up the girl and tenderly asked her if she were okay. Though neither knew it at the time, this lady and girl would forge a life-changing relationship. The lady would rescue the girl out of the abuse and become a mother to her. The girl would find love and healing.
It struck me how God might use the simple act of picking up a penny to save someone's life. How He often uses our small and fleeting gestures to bring about soul-shaking change. And neither is it lost on me that, in many ways, I am a penny. To a passerby, no one of any great consequence. But God has chosen to work remarkable, impossible miracles in and through my life. Every day I wonder how many pennies I encounter, whether in circumstance or in people. I pray I not miss a single one.
As a reminder, maybe as more of an homage, I no longer leave pennies lying on the ground.