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The Lucky Penny


When I was a kid, somewhere I learned that a "lucky penny" was a penny that was found "heads up". If I was lucky enough to stumble across one I would pick it up and carry it around with hopes that good luck would come my way.

As I have gotten older I have started a new tradition. If I come across a penny that is "tails up", I flip it over and leave it for the next lucky chap who happens upon it. I hope that he will pick it up and stick it in his pocket so that good luck will come his way. I love doing that, as it feels like a great way to spread a little joy, and perhaps even a little good luck.

Luck is a funny thing. What is it exactly? Good fortune, happiness, a fortuitous turn of events, perhaps? And how do we get it? Some might say that good luck is more likely to come to those who work hard.

"I am a believer in luck,

and I find the harder I work

the more I have of it"

-Thomas Jefferson

On the other hand, I have always thought of luck as more of a blessing, often well beyond what I have worked for. I also think of luck as something you can't buy, barter for, earn or call forth when you need it. It's just something that shows up when you least expect it...like a lucky penny.

As I am sitting in the afterglow of Christmas this morning, quietly reflecting on all of the gifts that I am grateful for this year- from family & friends, to good health, to the generous gifts that were shared under the Christmas tree, I am aware of a commonality across all of these "gifts". Each of these gifts was given from a place of generosity and received with a sense of gratitude.

The more I think about it, I realize that everything we have in this world- not just those things we receive in pretty packages- can be honored as a gift. We have the opportunity to either find something to be grateful for in that gift or circumstance and/or we have the opportunity to give of that gift or circumstance with generosity-sharing it with others.

I know that sometimes I am just too tired, either physically or mentally, and being generous with my time and energy simply isn't possible. What I am beginning to realize now, though, is that in these circumstances I have the opportunity to simply find something to be grateful for, and that is enough.

It is at other times that I find it difficult to be grateful. Perhaps "luck" is not not coming my way- such as when I'm sick, lonely, or bored. It is at these times that I can choose generosity. I can give of myself- help someone else, or simply give someone a smile or a hug.

Gratitude and generosity seem to be two sides of the same coin. Whether I choose gratitude, generosity or both, I am acknowledging and respecting the gifts that I have been given, or the luck that has come my way, however you choose to look at it.

So, this year, I will start a new tradition. I will pick up every penny I find- whether it's heads or tails up. It will remind me that it is always my choice to either find something to be grateful for or to find a way to generously give of myself. Either way, it feels like a good way to spread a little joy.

Happy New Year!!


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