Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Pennies From Heaven

Some twenty nine years ago I met a man in the flower shop that I was working in who would visit and engage the owner of the shop in deep theological discussions. There were times when I was uncomfortable with the two of them debating the subjects that they chose. Looking back the discussions, made with great passion, were on subjects that really didn't matter in the true heavenly realm. I blamed part of it on their faith traditions. It's not important what they were, let's just say that they both came from rather fundamentalist backgrounds.

One day, someone said, “Good Grief,” in fact, the one who said it was me. Now, it should be noted that I was all of 19 when I said it, and I'm not from a fundamentalist faith tradition. One co-worker and my employer jumped me and said that grief was not good. The owners friend looked at me like I had blasphemed, though he knew that I hadn't. His faked aghast was for my sake. He didn't say anything in my defense though.

Later when he came in I heard another employee, thank God it wasn't me, say, “Good Luck!” to someone. Oh mercy, I've never heard such a dressing down. It was said, “there is no such thing as good luck, the Lord has all things in control and you cannot have luck, God doesn't believe in it.” The fellow fundamentalist suddenly proved that he wasn't going to be just a quiet observer in this case. Willy, he said, “I think it's okay to say, good luck, look at it from the standpoint that, Luck, Love and the Lord all come from the same place, God. I think that you need to let up a little. Your line about good grief seemed a bit hard nosed to me last week.” There was more debate and that was somewhat the end of the friend that came to debate all things theological.
I've long remembered those discussions, as you can tell. I've thought heavily on the statement of Good Luck, I think that Richard was right, Luck, Love and the Lord are somewhat the same. I see that God is in control, that I can't argue with, but, we tend to use the term luck in the vernacular of the day. Many of us understand that God is in control and that we don't have to rely upon luck. Love is of God, so that's easy.

Now, to be told that grief isn't good, this is where I have a real problem. We have learned over the years that grief is good for us. Of course there are times when it can be carried for too long, or is it? But when we know that there is no emotion that Jesus didn't experience on earth. His anger always comes to me first because of his action of turning the tables over in the temple because of the sales of sacrifice offerings, probably made with scrip that was good only in the temple. I think of his agony in the garden while facing his death, I think of the emotion that was surely moving through his heart in the upper room where he offered the last supper, I feel like he surely felt disappointment in Judas, that he must have felt the melancholy of knowing that he was eating a last meal with his closest friends on earth. Of course all of these things are conjecture about the last supper. One thing that we know for sure is that Jesus felt grief when his dear friend Lazarus died. When he got word of it he went to the tomb and wept. Remember that,”shortest verse” in the Bible? Jesus wept. That he wept tells all that we need to know, he experienced grief, just as we do.

I know many people who are grieving, I know that like Jesus they weep. I know that weeping can be good because it is a cleansing of our bodies, it helps us to wash the hurt from our eyes, ultimately. I've said recently that if our eyes are the windows of the soul, then tears are the Windex for those windows.

Now, a little more about Luck, Love and the Lord. We often hear superstitions and and fairy tales while we are growing up, take for instance, “Find a penny that's face up and all the day you'll have good luck.” There are times that a penny more is all that we need to complete a purchase, is that where the good luck comes in? You had the extra penny. I like the fairy tale associated with found pennies. Seems that when we find a penny it has been thrown from heaven by someone who is thinking about us, or who wants us to know that they are okay, that they are in paradise. Do I think that those pennies actually fall from heaven? No, I don't, but I like the story just as well. The tale goes on to say that you are to pick up the penny and throw it some distance so that when someone else comes along and finds it they might think that they have found a penny from heaven and will think on someone who has gone before them. Okay, this is where the story proves itself to be a fairy tale. By throwing the penny we know that it didn't fall from heaven, it fell from our hands to someone else's a little farther down the road.
I found a penny the other morning, it was face up. Now, I could have gone with the superstition and thought of it as good luck, but since I buy into the story that they are pennies from heaven, well, I like that idea, and I felt like I knew who would have thrown that penny down from heaven, if that was actually where it came from. I know it isn't true, the penny was laying in front of a gas pump, it was just a little change that didn't make it into someone's pocket.
The song that came out of the depression, Every Time it Rains it Rains Pennies From Heaven, makes me wonder if the tune might have been a reminder to some that they were being told my those who have gone before them that everything was going to be fine, that their grief, shoveled upon them by the government and the nation's economic problems were actually abated by pennies falling from heaven. No, I don't think so.

Isn't it comforting to know that Jesus proved that grief is good by showing it himself, and isn't there some comfort in knowing that when we find those pennies from heaven that it is our own mind telling us that someone is thinking of us from the heavens and that everything is okay?

Luck, Love and the Lord, maybe Richard had a better handle on it than many others do.


Blogger Carl said...

Another great story about life and the wonders of it all. I will be sharing it with all my email friends and family. Too good to keep all to myself. UNK

10:01 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home