"Find a penny, pick it up, and all the day you'll have good luck." I am not a particularly superstitious person, with the possible exception of my fervent belief in "concern rays" generated by fans watching spectator sports events. After that, I remain generally skeptical of all things that might be out of the realm of my specific influence. Which makes it all the more interesting that I still hear those words in my head every time I bend over to pick up a penny.
Over the past year, I have had a sort of crisis of faith when it comes to my habit of picking up loose change. Many days on the way to school I have stopped and stooped to pick up one red cent. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I have made the wish that this act would, in fact, have some transformative power over the course of the rest of my day. There have been a number of days when, as the sun was going down, I wondered: "What happened? I picked up a penny, didn't I?"
Having the benefit of hindsight, I know that I have an easy recourse. I know that in the accounting of this year I can definitely apply the Pollyana corollary: It could have been worse. For all those days when I stopped and picked up a penny, things could have been much worse. I have my job, my home, my health. I have a circle of family and friends that encourage and support me, and put up with my obsessions and fears. I am grateful to have all those things and more, and when I roll up all those coins I feel lucky to have the sense to save for a rainy day.
That's why this morning I looped back around on my bike to bend down one more time and pick up a shiny piece of copper. It's a little bit of hope, after all.