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  • Writer's pictureLaura Kae

The Penny

Just a little Saturday afternoon story about the role pennies played in my life while I hit rock bottom. Slight details in the story are not accurate. (i.e. I don’t know what street I was on.) The overarching story line is. I keep pursuing God. Idols keep getting in the way. Everyday I learn more about this. This is the story of how I sought Him in the darkness.

Perhaps it actually was just a penny. It did not prevent the tall, slender woman from bending over to pick it up. She moved quickly hoping to not stop the frantic sidewalk traffic around her.

Heads or tails? Today it was tails. She smiled, as she rejoined the traffic. God’s little provision at the end of her day. He would take care of her. Sometime. Somehow. In the midst of the darkness closing in on her, He would be her provider.

The buildings along Fifth Avenue towered over her. She never paid much attention to them. She never paid much attention to her surroundings. Her destination ever present in her mind. She made her way through the streets. Finally arriving home from work.

Her home was barely a home. The small, scarcely clean room in the hostel was shared with a young Eastern European woman. The two never spoke, but when they did the girl’s accent came through strongly.

A humble meal of peanut butter and bread, washed down with a bottle of Ensure, completed the young woman’s day. After locking her belongings in the safe, she crawled into bed. She could change her clothes in the morning. Might as well sleep in today’s and spare a nightgown.

She arose early before the break of dawn, fumbling to shut off her alarm as quickly as possible, hoping not to awaken her roommate. She left her room and climbed down the stairs to her locker. Convenient her work had a shower. She would not have to use the hostel’s.

Her mind never quit working. There is something about not having a secure future that allows one’s mind to never shut off. Over and over again, she desperately longed for and imagined solutions to her problems. She navigated the dark streets. As she crossed Fifth Avenue, she bent to pick up a penny. The penny was firmly embedded in the street. Too many cars had driven over it before someone had the thought to rescue it from its fate.

Disappointed she continued. She felt lost without the penny. Somewhere in her backpack was a little plastic bag filled with pennies from the streets. They were her little reminder God was always with her. He would take care of her.

Her mind circled, trying to focus on prayer. She could not. She had run too long to focus on God again. Her thoughts whirled. No one of them more productive than the other. She sought to hear from God. Her mind could not settle. How would she ever hear from Him when she could not focus on Him for more than a few seconds?

She arrived at work. Thinking, grasping, praying. Lost.

There was a little room in a little apartment in a giant sky rise on Wall Street. The young woman sat on the edge of her bed. She was lost. The hostel was left behind. She had found her way into the sublet world. Boxes of her earthly possessions surrounded her. Why bother to unpack when she would move within days?

A little plastic bag filled with pennies rested on the window’s wide sill. Her only tangible reminder of her Father’s grace.

She sat on the edge of her bed. Frozen. Wondering how life had ever brought her here. She was no more than a breath away from the fulfillment of her dreams. She was in the center of the universe. Right where she had always wanted to be. She stared into space a bit mindlessly, trying to make a logical decision in the midst of darkness. Where was God in all of this? Why couldn’t she hear from Him?

She picked up her cellphone and stared at it. It was time to make the call. She had to find Him again. She could not find Him here. She had failed. Utterly failed in her pursuit of happiness. Manhattan, Wall Street, her career were ashes. Idolatrous ashes.

The young woman knelt on a bed in a small town in Northern California. Desperately she called out to her God. Her one and only true God. She prayed. If I do not know You, let me find You. If You are not in me, come to me. If I do not have Your Spirit, baptize me with Him now.

She did not know what to expect. Her life lay before her a vast wasteland. Every idol destroyed. Every object upon which she had placed her hope lost. He was the only thing left standing. The battle of her life had killed His every foe. He alone could save.

He came to her. She began to weep. A language unknown to her flowed from her lips. In shock she became silent. What had just happened? What always happened. What had never happened to her.

A worn plastic bag filled with pennies rested on the young woman’s desk. No longer the only tangible reminder of God’s presence in her life. What would she do to keep it?

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