Find A Penny

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Find A Penny…
Pick it Up…
All the DayYou’ll Have Good Luck

I go to my bedroom where Molly ( Molly is not her real name, but she jokingly refers to herself as Molly Mop Up, because she cannot walk past dirt without cleaning it up) is busy changing the lightbulbs in the ceiling fan, and in her usual fashion, cleaning everything in her path as she goes. Molly helps around the office (my office is in my home) and also helps with general cleaning and other projects related to my home. She is my good friend and I have known her for several years now.

She is up there wiping away and then comes down, advising me as she lands on the ground that the shade was really dirty. “Gee, I thought this was an opaque shade, but it is not…it is clear.” I knew that, I think to myself, although truth is it has been so long since that shade was cleaned, I really did not remember. Wherever she has it at the moment, I am sure it is clear now.

I also could not remember how many bulbs it took, but the last one blew a few days ago and the light fixture was lost in darkness, and I need the light in the room, so I had asked her to change the bulbs for me since I cannot reach that high even on the ladder. (The ceiling is a vaulted ceiling, I have neck problems which limit my comfort in raising my arms to work above my head,  and I am short!)  As she walks down the hallway with her rag in her hand, I look up at the fixture, which has been stripped bare of the shade down to its extension rod with the little round plate attached to the bottom on which the shade rests and onto which another round plate is screwed to hold the shade in place. What would I do without her help, I think to myself, as she returns to the room and climbs back up to the fixture.

Once she gets up there, looking confused and perplexed, she looks down at me, and says to me, “Did you put this penny up here?” I process what she just said. “Of course not! What are you talking about, Molly?” I have been standing here doing my own little tasks, and why would I climb up the ladder to put a penny into a light fixture I can’t reach? In fact, WHO WOULD put a penny into a light fixture? WHY would you put a penny into a light fixture? Yet, laying on the rim of the round little plate at the end of the extension rod which she had justed finished cleaning with her rag before she left the room, she now found a penny. She picks it up and brings it down to me, handing it to me. I take a look at it…it is a shiny penny, dated 1998, with Abraham Lincoln on the front.

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“I just cleaned that rim and there was no penny there. Are you sure you did not put it there?” She looks at me almost as if in accusation. She is a bit shook up by it and I am intrigued by it. I deny any involvement once again. Molly is mollified!!! She shakes her head, leaves the room and goes downstairs to work elsewhere. I look over at my pujya and the image of Lord Krishna sitting there in all His Glory, acting all innocent, and think…”What are you up to this time, O Giridhara Naagara?” No answer. Still, I cannot help but wonder. It has His Footprints all over it!

I look at it again, and play with it in my hand. Well, it sure was not put up there for me. She is the one who was working there and she is the one who found it. In fact, there is no way I would have found it because I was not going up that ladder, she was. So, the penny is for her, isn’t it? Now I get my answer…yes it is. And she not only gets the penny, but following instructions, I begin to put together a little package for her to take home with her. This includes a flower and a little clay Diwali candle holder to put it in.

I find myself putting the flower into the Diwali holder, and placing the penny into the flower. I kneel before Him. What is it you would like to ask of Me for her? I take a moment to think…I know that Diwali is symbolized by Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and it does not take a genius to make the “find a penny pick it up” connection either. While she is busy downstairs, I am busy upstairs. Dispensing with the mundane aspect of my request, I note that money is an issue in her household, so I ask that things ease up a bit there for her and her family and that they be able to pay their bills. But my real request is for her spiritual enrichment and so I make this request of Him, knowing that however awkwardly I might word it, He will know what to do with it. In fact, He already knows what He is going to do with it, but He lets me play the part. I am then sent off to finish the package with which I will send her home. Down to my office and my eyes fall on my windowsill, where there is a small image of Lord Vishnu which I had cut out from a poster at the Mission for some sort of Vaikunta celebration which had occurred at the Vrindavan Center in NJ. I liked it because it was strikingly blue and beautiful and I had no Vishnu images and I wanted one. Hey, I just framed that for me!!! It has not even been there for a full day yet. Not for you anymore:-) So I give it up and put it with the rest of her “gifts.” Then I pull out my little book from the Mission entitled “Symbols In  Hinduism” and find a short article on Vishnu, making a copy for her to take home.

Well, now what do I put it into? I go down to the basement to the laundry room where she is working. I also use that room to keep some of my wrapping paper and decorative you- don’t- have- to- wrap-it bags. She sees me looking in the drawer and pulling them out, and starts to point to a big bag hanging up near the counter. She begins to move towards it when I tell her “Stay out of it.” She gives me a look and stays out of it and continues with what she had been doing. So I find a few bags and take them up to my office where her gift is waiting.

When she leaves for the day, I give her the gift bag, and I tell her that the reason I told her to stay out of it, was because I had been looking for the bag for her. She smiles and takes the package, having no idea what I am giving her. I smile because I know what I am giving her, what He is giving her.

I talk to her a few days later and she thanks me telling me that no one has done anything for her like that to make her feel that good in a long time. She had not opened the package until later that evening when all her home chores were done and her son was in bed. Then I mention to her…”I hear Glenn gave you a computer.” Glenn is my computer tech and works on a large campus where they had just updated their computers and had a bunch of them heading for storage/disposal. He has been helping me cope with my computer meltdown, and had just guided me in purchasing a new one. During the same conversation, he mentioned that he had given one of the computers to her. I had sent him to her because her computer was refusing to boot up and she and her husband could not fix it themselves.

“Oh yes”, she says. “The motherboard on our computer was dead and we were going to have to replace it completely,or buy a new computer and we do not have the money to buy a new computer. This was a lifesaver.” I laughed (thinking…yes, He is). “Find a penny…pick it up…all the day you’ll have good luck.” I quipped. She got silent for a moment, perhaps absorbing what I had just said and then the conversation ended because we both had to get off the phone. Later, she told me she had not even made the connection until I said it to her. In fact, when she had arrived home from my house that very day, there was already a message from Glenn to her on her answering machine, telling her about the computer and offering it to her. His gift was already given before I asked for it for her.  As to the second and most important of my wishes for her, it is safely in His hands and always has been.

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Abandoning all DHARMAS of the body, mind, and intellect,
take refuge in Me alone.
I will liberate you from all sins; grieve not.
Bhagavad Gita, Ch. 18, Verse 66

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