Not only was it a chilly, drizzly, gray day outside but I was feeling the same way within myself. I can’t recall the exact day, but it was in the early 2000’s. And, although I remember the grayness and chill around me I can’t recall whether it was spring or autumn. I had been to the gym walking the treadmill on my prosthetics and was seriously missing a good run on a pair of real legs.
Before heading into the office I decided I needed a little time in the cemetery. As odd as it sounds, I would often stop at the cemetery where my grandmother was buried. I found it to be a great place of peace and solitude; a place to contemplate and pray.
By my grandmother’s tomb there was a backless bench where I would sit and have a one sided conversation. When the conversation began to drag, I would make my way to a kneeling position. Getting there took a few minutes as I sought a place of balance accompanied with minimal discomfort. Once accomplished, I would prop my elbows on the bench for additional support, interlock my fingers, and bow my head in prayer posture.
On this day the prayer was about the need to know there was more than this life; more than losing my legs. I needed to know my legs would be “restored to their perfect frame,” and they would take me on a great run again. I needed to know my grandma was alive and well, dwelling in a celestial realm; that she received definitive healing and was home. Even more, that she knew what was going on down here and had some influence, albeit rooting and cheering for her family from on high. It was a prayer that something, anything, everything continues on; a prayer of the validity of eternity versus the reality of time. It was a prayer we all have had in our hearts when hope becomes obscure and faith quivers; a need for reassurance as clouds of doubt roll through.
I don’t know if I was done praying or if I just couldn’t remain kneeling any longer. Clumsily, I pulled myself up and located center of gravity. I brushed the dirt off my mechanical knee and adjusted my clothes. Feeling the chill in the air even more; I removed the sweatshirt from around my waist and pulled it on.
Glancing at my grandma’s physical resting place, I said out loud, “If you’re there Grandma, I need a sign, any sign.” Walking away; with a shrug of my shoulders and shake of my head, as if she was asking what kind of sign I wanted, I continued, “I don’t know, send pennies from heaven.”
Climbing into my vehicle I found smack dap, right in the middle of the driver’s seat, a penny. Smiling, I placed the small token in the cup holder. Pondering the little copper gift seemed to lift the gray. Walking into the office, there in the threshold were several more pennies. Somehow I managed to maintain balance as the door bounced off my bottom while bending over to pick each one up. My smile grew ever larger as I sat my things on my desk, for there again was a penny.
I didn’t need a great God to perform ‘writing on the wall’ or ‘parting the Red Sea’ kind of great miracles. What I needed was a great God to be small enough to hear the small plea of my heart. He simply needed to tell my grandma, “Go ahead, send her pennies from heaven.”
Pennies everywhere; I never pass one up without acknowledging ‘pennies from heaven’. I only wish I would have started a ‘pennies from heaven’ jar way back then, instead of tossing those sweet little reminders in with other loose change. How many would I have collected over the years?
Being the great God He is; He knew how needful this ‘small miracle’ would become. I have reflected on it many times since Jeff crossed over. The desire to know he has reached the definitive healing. To know, Jeff is home now and while he will always have a place in our homes, to also know, we have a place in his. A subtle little reminder of, ‘hey, I’m here, thinking of you, watching over you, rooting and cheering you on’.
As a way to venerate the fifth year of Jeff's passing, I thought we could each see how many ‘pennies from heaven’ we receive throughout the year. These sweet tokens don’t necessarily have to be in the form of a coppery penny, maybe a silvery nickel or dime. When you find them, or they find you, you will knowJeff is sending you ‘pennies from heaven’.