If You See a Penny

The night before last, I crawled in bed with dread. I was not looking forward to the drive into my office, thirty miles north, early the next morning.

It would be dark and, according to the forecast, raining. Heavily. I was most especially not looking forward to  meeting  with my new manager about whom I had only heard his nickname – “The Slasher.”

At least, I consoled myself, it would be Friday. I’d have the weekend to recover from anything horrible that would surely transpire. I set my alarm for 4:30 am, hoping to hop in the shower and hit the road long before the rush hour traffic did.

“Good morning, this is traffic and weather on the 8’s!” a voice shouted out of my clock radio.

“What…?” I mumbled before squinting at the time.

“5:38! I wanted to be on the road by now!” A series of expletives ran through my mind while I made my way down stairs to grab a quick cup of coffee.

My husband said later that he knew something was wrong when he heard me voicing these expletives in the kitchen. The coffee pot, that I had set the night before to automatically start before I woke up, stood there empty.

I flicked the switch. Nothing.

I unplugged it and plugged it back in again. Nothing.

Great….

By then my husband had joined me, bleary-eyed, and was doing his best to look like he was as concerned about its demise as I was.

Fifteen minutes later, I was out of the shower, dressed and ready to go. With an exaggerated “poor me” huff, I hoisted my computer bag over my shoulder, not even saying goodbye to my husband who was standing nearby and, by now, was wide-awake.

I yanked opened the front door. About to storm out, my eyes fell on a penny that was laying idly by the mat. .

Remembering a story about the millionaire who picked up a stray penny, not because of its value, but because of what is written on it, I bent down to retrieve it.

In God I Trust

I closed my eyes and clutched it. A lovely sense of peace settled over me. I leaned over to give my husband a good-bye kiss, walked out the door and decided to put my day in God’s hands. Taking a deep breath, I let go of my worry and my dread.

The drive up to the office was indeed dark. And wet. Yet, I made it to there in record time, safe and sound.

During a productive day that moved quickly, I got some valuable face time with colleagues and plowed through many items on my long to-do list. As the hour approached to meet with my new manager, my anxiety tried returning, but I clutched my penny and pushed it out of my mind.

At the designated hour, notebook in hand, I knocked on his door, stepped in and introduced myself. I spent the next thirty minutes conversing with a very pleasant professional to whom I now report and who seemed genuinely interested in my ideas, plans for the future and expectations. Not a slasher in sight.

My drive home, during the height of rush hour, was actually enjoyable. It was still raining, but there was no need to rush. At a long stop light. I called my husband to tell him I was on my way.

Pulling in the driveway, I noticed the house was dark. I made my way upstairs calling, “Helllloooo” but no one answered. I changed into jeans and checked my email. As soon as I was done, I heard the garage door open.

I rushed downstairs to greet my family. I missed them. I really, really missed them.

With our older two boys away at a track meet, my younger two stood in the foyer – one holding a grocery bag, the other holding a warm deep dish pizza from Gino’s East (www.ginoseast.com).

“Dad said you’d be too tired to cook!” they declared.

How great is that? I replied while my husband ducked into the kitchen, his own arms full of groceries.

Settling on the couch, I heard him clanging dishes, getting the boys their dinner. After a few minutes, he brought me a glass of wine and a kiss.

“So how was your day?”

“I’m not sure it can get any better,” I sighed and proceeded to tell him about my wonderful day. “All because I handed my day over to God,” I concluded, not caring how hokey it may have sounded.

“You found a lucky penny,” he countered, not entirely convinced that divine intervention played a part.

Two hours later, while searching for his glasses, he found himself in a panic. His briefcase in which was store our completed, but not yet submitted tax return was missing.

Our social security numbers and those of our kids were on the form. My place of employment, my salary, our bank account information. All gone.

Frantic, he called his office. Not there. The Subway where he had picked up a sandwich earlier. Not there either. After tearing apart both cars and much of the house, he sat on the couch with his head in his hands.

“How could I be so careless?”

Throughout the ordeal, I felt oddly calm.

I had ever reason to feel panic. I had ever reason to feel that my trust had been betrayed, but I just didn’t feel anything but peace.

Ambling into the kitchen, I began clearing up the dinner dishes. Then I grabbed the pizza box from the counter.

There it was. His briefcase.

In God we now trust.

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