Roy Exum: Pick Up That Penny

Friday, September 6, 2019 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Many years ago I was in the crowd when, during a talk, I heard a brief story as an illustration I seem to have never forgotten. I had an early-morning doctor’s appointment yesterday and, as I realized I would be even later if I stopped for my first Diet Coke of the day, I yielded to temptation, certain I could make my apology even more effusive if my throat wasn’t as dry. Yet between me and the store’s front door, a penny was lying on the ground. The speaker from years back had told us to never pass a penny by, but to pick it up, make careful note of the tiny “In God We Trust” over Abraham Lincoln’s likeness, and then trust God to answer a simple one-sentence prayer we should offer up on behalf of some unknowing stranger we might see who may benefit from a totally-anonymous nudge.

Ever since I heard the suggestion, it is a fun little extra on any given day to find a “one cent.” But was it just happenstance this time? Late yesterday afternoon, this in the big scheme of how stuff really works if you believe in such things as “a God moment,” I came across a story I had never read before.

Understand, this was about 10 hours since I first found Thursday’s penny and had used it about a half-dozen times. Laugh all you want and call me nuttier than a Reece’s Cup but, so help me, the story was entitled “Pick Up A Penny.” It was attributed to my all-time favorite writer, “Author Unknown,” and I must share it.

* * *

It begins, “Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at the husband's employer's home. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway, and cars costing more than her house.

The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live. The husband's employer was quite generous as a host, and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so was enjoying herself immensely.

As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband.

He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment.

Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts. Still silent, the man reached down and picked up the penny.

He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up?

Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her. Finally, she could stand it no longer. She causally mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value.

A smile crept across the man's face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see. She had seen many pennies before! What was the point of this?

"Look at it." He said. "Read what it says."

She read the words "United States of America."

"No, not that; read further."

"One cent?"

"No, keep reading."

"In God we Trust?"

"Yes,"

"And?"

"And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him. Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God's way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!

When I was out shopping today, I found a penny on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up, and realized that I had been worrying and fretting in my mind about things I cannot change. I read the words, "In God We Trust," and had to laugh. Yes, God, I get the message.

It seems that I have been finding an inordinate number of pennies in the last few months, but then, pennies are plentiful!

And, God is patient...

* * *

It’s not lost on me that sometimes it is us who needs the penny the most. As my great mentor Elmer Pettyjohn used to teach: “Sonny boy, God doesn’t always come when you call Him, but there has never been once He wasn’t right on time.”

royexum@aol.com


Roy Exum: So, How’s Roy Doing?

Chattanooga BID Fiasco Rears Its Ugly Head

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies


As I got dressed on Thursday, I knew it was the second-month mark since my entire world went topsy-turvy, this after my right leg had been amputated. I have adapted well because there was no ... (click for more)

Once again the Chattanooga BID fiasco rears its ugly head. You know, the people who haven't already run all the businesses off from downtown are trying to get them again. They are refusing to ... (click for more)

Although as rarely as it occurs, the material for The Saturday Funnies ran a little thin this week, which is a good thing because I’ve waited a long time for the chance to share this story. It ... (click for more)


Opinion

Roy Exum: So, How’s Roy Doing?

As I got dressed on Thursday, I knew it was the second-month mark since my entire world went topsy-turvy, this after my right leg had been amputated. I have adapted well because there was no other option. I can now shave and shower like a champ but the one thing that stymies me is that with just one good arm and leg – both on my left side – I cannot pull up my pants. I have to go ... (click for more)

Chattanooga BID Fiasco Rears Its Ugly Head

Once again the Chattanooga BID fiasco rears its ugly head. You know, the people who haven't already run all the businesses off from downtown are trying to get them again. They are refusing to exempt four non-profits from their ridiculous fees for their aim to clean up the city. They even have job opportunities for those wishing to become ambassadors for their cause. One of the ... (click for more)

Breaking News

New Contract For Supt. Bryan Johnson Includes Raise To $240,000 Per Year; Chance To Earn More

A new contract for County School Supt. Bryan Johnson that is expected to be approved by a majority of the School Board on Thursday includes a significant raise to a base pay of $240,000. His base pay was $197,500 when he got a four-year contract in 2017. That contract is not due to run out until 2021. But the board majority is expected to move ahead with a new four-year contract ... (click for more)

Police Blotter: Thieves Fire Up Marijuana In Stolen 2013 Chevy; Women Walk Out On $27.38 Tab

A man who left his 2013 Chevrolet at 311 Chestnut St. said someone got inside and stole it. The man said he is in possession of the only key for the vehicle. He said he did not know how the suspect(s) were able to start the vehicle. The OnStar vehicle tracker was able to track the vehicle to an alley off E. 42nd Street between 15th and 16th Avenues. The vehicle was found unoccupied. ... (click for more)

Sports

Rhyne Howard Leads #18 Kentucky To Upset Win Over #6 Mississippi State, 73-62

National Player of the Year candidate Rhyne Howard scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the 18th-ranked Kentucky women's basketball team upset sixth-ranked Mississippi State 73-62 on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Coliseum. It was the 15th time this season that Howard has scored at least 20 points in a game and the 20th time she has scored in double figures during ... (click for more)

#25 Lady Vols Fall Short In Upset Bid Over #16 Texas A&M, 73-71

No. 25 Tennessee pulled to within two points in the final minute but couldn't overcome a No. 16/18 Texas A&M team that went 28 of 33 from the free-throw line en route to a 73-71 victory in Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday afternoon. Sophomore Rae Burrell led UT (17-8, 7-5 SEC) with 19 points and seven rebounds in front of a season-best crowd of 12,738. Junior Rennia Davis ... (click for more)