As I was leaving the post office, I heard the jingling of loose change hitting the sidewalk. The lady in front of me–from whose hand or purse it must have dropped–glanced down, but didn’t stop. She kept walking. I stopped.I saw a nickel and picked it up.I looked around, because it sounded like more than one had fallen, but only found the nickel.I thought about my previous ponderings on pennies and how few people bother to bend over and pick them up. In one of those posts, I quoted Annie Dillard. In another, I offered a poem of my own.At the post office, I could only assume that the lady must have been in a crazy-hurry if she couldn’t stop to pick up her own nickel.As I rounded the corner to parking lot, the lady was sitting in her truck.The window was down.I had to pass right next to her to get to my van, and she was looking right at me.”I think you dropped this nickel.” I held it up. “Would you like it?””Sure,” she said.I smiled. “Here you go.” I set it in her palm. She said nothing. I continued to my van, puzzling over the situation. Was she too tired to bend over? Does she have a bad back? Was she concerned about holding up the people coming out of the post office behind her (like me) and decided to let it go? Was she embarrassed? Was she sitting there thinking about going back to search for it after all?For that matter, should any of us bother with a nickel? Maybe we should just leave them there for other people to find?Maybe that’s what she did.Maybe she wanted to make my day and didn’t expect me to give it back.I went for a jog yesterday morning and thought about that nickel. I mean, I didn’t just think about the nickel the entire time. I thought about many things, but at the very moment I recalled the post office nickel, I spotted a dime on the road.I stopped and picked it up.Like I always do.In the past few months, I’ve picked up this loose change on my jogs.It sure doesn’t add up to much.Should I bother?And then I think about lost coins.I keep thinking if I try hard enough, I should be able to weave in the parable of the lost coin, where the woman loses one of her ten silver coins, lights a lamp, sweeps the house, and searches carefully until she finds it–and when she does, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin” (Luke 15:8-10).And even though I can’t quite make it all fit together quite right, I decide to end this story about the lost nickel the way Jesus ends that parable:”In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Prairie Chick says
Interesting. I wonder how many “shiny things” (ie. moments) people inadvertently drop or walk right by because they are too hurried, busied, exhausted, overwhelmed, distracted, numb, flustered, blind. Lord, let me live a life in the slow lane that allows me to not only see the pennies, and nickels, the little shiny things that grace this earthly existence, but give me the grace to stop, redeem and claim them.
Monica- Paper Bridges says
we pick up coins when we find them because of their value. I almost always pick up a coin I find, or let the kids do it. every bit – everyone – counts. 🙂
reminds me of Horton Hatches an Egg. great book about the value of life.
I always pick up coins.. not sure why.. maybe I feel sorry that they have been abandon and I want to give them a home. 🙂
I loved this post, Ann. It reminds me that not only should you bother, but that sometimes there isn’t a nice, neat ending. What matters is that story.