Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Penny for your thoughts?

Would you ever think you could learn a lesson from something as seemingly worthless as a penny? The lesson was waiting for me, patiently...until I was ready to absorb its immeasurable value.

My dear friend Michael...joker...character...had a funny quirk. On one visit to see him in Toronto, he picked up every penny he saw.  Believe me, there wasn't a lack of random pennies in downtown Toronto. I thought it was funny, endearing, and a little ridiculous...but classically Mike. Finally, I asked him about it. Why pick up something so worthless? So heavy in the pocket?

The response resonates so much deeper now.

"Jenn, they aren't worthless, you know. That's MONEY, even if it's not much.  Let me tell ya...I see a lot of them..and 135 of them will buy me a coffee at Tims."

So we carried on our evening. He picked up pennies...I laughed everytime...and I didn't think much more about it.

As I now reflect on those pennies, and the man who saw their infinite value and potential...I am beginning to understand the levels of that experience. This man who picked up the pennies...has taught me an invaluable lesson from that memory.

We create value in things we see potential in. We can make something out of nothing if we work to grow....nurture...and collect towards a common goal. Shame on us for discarding those things that have a small amount of value, and have the potential to be part of a bigger whole. Because my dear friend, he didn't just apply this to pennies - he applied it to those people who society has thrown away, ignored and written off. He poured his heart and soul into making those wayward souls KNOW that they are valuable....that someone sees them...and that their potential is immeasurable, if they apply themselves:

One day at a time.

In the light of my friends new position...(love you rascal...xo) I, like so many have been looking for signs of him around me. I am trying to justify the sleepless nights...the moments of overwhelming emotion and the seemingly unspeakable grief. I woke up this morning and had the very clear direction to look out the window.  I expected to see a sign outside...the hawk some have spoken of, or something abundantly clear telling me my dear friend is okay. I opened the curtains, and before I could even look outside, there it was. That which took my breath away...made me smile...and brought me to tears..

a penny on the window sill.

I was reminded..."Jenn with 2 n's....do the right thing. love the undesirables...give because you have much...listen because you have the ability..and honour me by seeing potential in the one cent..."

MB...I will make you proud.


  1. You make us all proud. I am proud to be your first follower and your first commenter.

    Love you millions.

  2. Thanks Nicca! Love you..glad you're my first follower! :) xo

  3. Oh you make him so proud. You are taking all lifes lessons to heart, all our friends and family are here to teach us, good for you for really getting it Jenn.

    When my mother was a small girl in England, she threw the equivalent of a penny into the field while walking with her father. He made her go look for it, after she said basically, so what? it is only a penny....
    she said the lesson stood with her forever. She taught me the same thing. I never look at a penny and think of it as nothing.
    In fact, today I passed one on the ground and for a fleeting and inexplicable moment I left it, thinking the next guy needed it more than I did.

  4. Gill~
    I found 2 yesterday when I was down at the office. I only picked up one, thinking the same thing. But the other one, I found when I dropped my keys in the elevator going down to my car. It wasn't in plain sight..it was hidden at the back corner..and I wouldn't have seen it had I not dropped my keys. Perhaps it was meant just for me.
    You inspire me my friend..you are kindred..xo

  5. This is a beautiful post, Jenn. Pennies always meant a lot to me. When I was young and lived in Europe, one could get a bunch of candy with a penny.
    Gillian is right about you. You have a lovely way with words.

  6. Very strong and beautifully written story. I came here as a friend of Gillian's and take a piece of your blog with me. Thank you :)

  7. thank you ever so much my new friends! much joy to you today and always..xo

  8. I am proud to be your aunt.

  9. I've read this a million times, and witnessed your penny pickups with my own eyes. The last line of this blog says it all....

    MB I will make you proud.

    This, you have. ;) TBW

  10. Amazing- it moved me to tears not just the story of the penny but of Mike. even though I met him just once; i learned so much from him with his open honesty and genuine interest in my story. he shook my hand firmly and gave me a hug. Through the handshake and hug I knew Mike was the real deal. The real caring about the littlest things deal.