By Reverend Carol Rosine
The scratch card promised a possibility of $25 off my next purchase so the next time I went to the store I pulled the card out of my billfold, handed it to the clerk, and waited expectantly as she scratched off the silver concealing the amount of my prize. Fifty Cents. That was all. Disappointment reigned.
In Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard says that when she was a child she used to play a game in which she would hide her very own “precious pennies” in nooks or crannies in trees or sidewalks. “Then I would take a piece of chalk, and, starting at either end of the block, draw huge arrows leading up to the penny from both directions. After I learned to write I labeled the arrows: SURPRISE AHEAD or MONEY THIS WAY. I was greatly excited, during all this arrow-drawing, at the thought of the first lucky passer-by who would receive in this way, regardless of merit, a free gift from the universe….”
Annie Dillard says that “the world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But-and this is the point-who gets excited by a mere penny?” Who even gets excited anymore by a mere 50 cents?
We are approaching the season in which we pause to give thanks for the bounty that fills our lives, all those blessings that come unbidden and unearned. However, in the midst of this season, we may be overwhelmed with disappointments. Life may not be unfolding in the way we had anticipated or desired. We may worry about those forces over which we have no control. And yet….
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I compared notes with one of my friends who expects everything of the universe and is disappointed when anything is less than the best, and I find that I begin at the other extreme, expecting nothing, and am always full of thanks for moderate goods.”
As Thanksgiving approaches I’m casting my lot with Emerson who gave thanks for moderate goods. And with those who actually notice all those pennies “cast broadside by a generous hand” and pause to pick them up. How about you?
With Gratitude for fifty cents…