Explore, Dream and Discover
There is an old Frank Sinatra song called “Pennies from Heaven.” The lyrics go like this:
“Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven
Don't you know each cloud contains pennies from heaven?
You'll find your fortune's fallin' all over the town
Be sure that your umbrella is upside down
Trade them for a package of sunshine and flowers
If you want the things you love, you must have showers
So, when you hear it thunder, don't run under a tree
There'll be pennies from heaven for you and me.”
I often bend down to pick up a stray “lucky” penny, choosing to believe, like many others, that the penny was strategically placed in my path as a message from heaven. On June 21, 2014, just after my niece, Erin, and her fiancé, Kevin, had gotten married, I was walking with my father in the church yard in Maryland for pictures. My dad, now resorting to a walker to keep him steady, stopped and pointed down to a penny in the grass. I would have walked right over it as it blended with the dirt and grass, tarnished with weather and age. But not my Dad who still has sharp eyes for spotting camouflaged items in nature even at ninety years of age. After brushing the dirt aside from the year, I discovered the year… 1982… the year that his dear mother passed away. Coincidence? You decide.
We are blessed by the generations that came before us. They have passed on their talents, instilled in us their love, and have enriched our lives in ways we may never know. And just like the lyrics say, it is fun to believe that the pennies from heaven will bring us additional good fortune.
The trick is being prepared to recognize and rejoice in those moments when they come. While we may be tempted to think this correlates only to momentous occasions like weddings, I think that life could be so much more meaningful if we could celebrate seemingly ordinary events with the same level of appreciation.
With summer upon us, it is the perfect time to step back and give ourselves permission to savor the small moments. It is when we can let kids can be kids, forgoing the schedules and spending time in unstructured play. It is when adults can slow down and have the luxury to dream again and to remember what it is that makes them tick and inspired. There will always to be pressure to perform and to conform both for children and for adults. This is the season to remember that life isn’t all about grades and performances and for gauging your success against another.
Life is also about discovering what touches your heart and feeds your soul apart from conventional measures. While I know that it is not necessary true that all children will have extensive opportunities to explore nature, arts, and hobbies, it should be a goal to afford these privileges when possible. July and August await. Make them special, not just for you and the children in your life. Remember those children who would be without if it wasn’t for someone like you and a penny from heaven to remind us that we all deserve to enjoy the sunshine and smell the flowers.