“Verity - the quality or state of being true or real; Balderdash – nonsense.”
Miriam-Webster Online Dictionary
In God we Trust
Verities & Balderdash
By Bob Robinson
A few years ago, I met a young woman who was battered, tarnished and rejected by society, whether or not through fault of her own was unknown. I tried to help her. I sought the help of friends. A special woman whose name was Art, short for Arlene, was one of them. She went to extraordinary efforts to work with me on the girl’s behalf.
Our combined efforts met with no success. She wrote to me later – following the young woman’s return to prison – about the “tarnished penny” and the fact that we at least picked it up, noting it as something valuable to be saved and cherished.
It eased the disappointment of what I considered a failed effort.
Every once in a while I still think about that tarnished penny… hoping she finally found her way in this world.
Then yesterday, I received this from another friend. It is called simply… Pennies.
Several years ago, a friend 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 casually 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.'
'No, keep reading.'
'In God we Trust?'
'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.
God is also generous. Rejoice in the celebration of His Gift to us… His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
Remember, verities should be thought provoking; balderdash is nonsense.
See you next time.
Bob Robinson is the retired editor of The Daily Advocate, Greenville, Ohio. If you wish to receive a daily notification of his comments, opinions and reports, send your email address to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to express your views.