I haven’t always picked up “lucky pennies.” There have been years when I just ignored them. But I have a friend who believes that money she finds are gifts from her mother in heaven. She often posts on social media about how she knows her mom was sending her love that day because she found a penny. So for a long time this idea about pennies was always floating in the back of my mind. I would see them in the street and think of my friend, but I rarely picked them up.
Last year I went through a very tough time. I take medication for both my depression and anxiety, and all the medications needed to be adjusted. Combine that with trying to raise a teenage daughter without all of us losing our minds, and it made for an emotionally unbalanced time. During my darkest moments, I started noticing money on the streets. A dime. A nickel. A penny. Two pennies. I wasn’t convinced that it meant anything, but at some point I realized I didn’t need to be convinced. I just wanted to be open to the possibility that maybe the universe was trying to send me love, hope...anything.
So I started picking them up.
One day I texted my friend a picture of a bright shiny new penny I found and told her I was thinking of her. She replied, “Put it in your bra over your left boob.” I replied, “That’s a very strange suggestion” and she wrote back, saying, “It’s the closest to your heart and that’s the closest to heaven.”
I’m still not doing that because my brain can’t reconcile the idea of jogging with pennies in my bra. But I do clutch them in my hands for the duration of my runs. It might be for a block; it might be for several miles. But I do it. And having the pennies in my hands reminds me to be grateful. It reminds me to be present. It reminds me that there might be something bigger out there in the universe.
About a month ago, I was on a long walk. I was debating about whether or not I felt like it was the right time to start looking for a job. My daughter is older and much more independent, so my main role as her caretaker and driver is no longer taking up as much of my time. But I wasn’t sure I was mentally ready to get a job. I’d been having such a rough time. And, after 16 years of not working in traditional settings, I was feeling insecure about whether or not I could even do a job, let alone figure out how to get someone to hire me. I was feeling confused and frustrated.
At some point during that walk, while I was giving myself a little pep talk about not letting my insecurities and anxiety stop me from trying, I realized that I might try and not succeed, but that not trying at all would be worse. And at that very moment I saw a dollar bill on the sidewalk right in front of me. It was folded up into a little square and laying in front of me as if someone had put it there for me to find. Again, I’m not particularly superstitious, but I truly felt in that moment that it was a message encouraging me to follow the positive thoughts I was having. Perhaps the universe was telling me that this was the path I needed to follow.
Within a month I found a job.
Today the penny I found was in a little puddle of water from the recent rain. It was old and corroded, its surface barely recognizable. But I instantly felt love with that old penny. No matter what it had endured, it had survived to provide me a little hope this morning.
Thank you penny.