Thursday, October 20, 2011

Do we ‘Get Luck” or Give Luck?”

I found a lucky penny yesterday. 

It was all crusty with mud, rough around the edges, but it was there, straight ahead of my foot, waiting for me to pick it up. 

Peering at the image of ol’ Mr. Lincoln, trying to discern the year imprinted on my lucky penny, I felt lucky – lucky because:
  • I am physically able to bend down and pick up a penny (ah, the simple things)
  • I could then smile up at the sky and see the wild blue yonder with my eyes
  • With a loving family and modern medicine, I am able to feel joy, happiness and love
  • And, I was one cent ‘richer’ than before!
Yet, I was only partially lucky because -- in order to be truly lucky -- I must give away my lucky penny to someone else.  If I kept it, my luck would be unfulfilled; by giving it away to someone else, both of us are lucky.

The other person might feel lucky because someone (me) recognized them as a human being, and gave them a smile and a surprise.  And, perhaps they might then look up at the blue-blue sky and see the joy in their life, or feel loved even if for just a moment.  They might also feel a bit perplexed by the ‘random act’ aspect of it all, too!

I was in Walmart one time when I found a lucky penny in the check-out line.  I gave it to a boy about four years old in front of me, saying, “Here’s a lucky penny I found.”  His eyes got big and round, and he grinned and reached out his hand.  As I gave it to him, I said, “But, if you want to be really, really lucky, give it away to someone else.”  Total bewilderment on his chubby lil’ face, appealing eyes looked to his mom for translation.  So, I asked if he’d felt happy when I gave it to him; he said Yes.  I asked him if he’d like for someone he knew to feel lucky, too.  He said Yes, the grin returning to his expression at the prospect.  His mom suggested he give it to his cousin and he chattered about giving it to her and that it would make her feel happy.  I don’t know, of course, whether he did so, but I felt lucky at the encounter and enriched by the conversation with the little boy.  Thus, we both felt lucky by the same lucky penny.

Could it be that “luck” isn’t something we get, but rather is something we give away?  If I win the lottery, I might feel lucky, but if the money just sits in the bank, would I still feel luck?  I think I’d feel happier if I gave away my ‘luck’ to a women’s nonprofit, or built a ball field  – and then I’d feel ‘lucky’ and so would the recipients. And, if "luck" is a nonmaterial thing, can't it still be given away energetically, or through prayer or meditation?

I decided not to clean off Mr. Lincoln on my newest lucky penny.  Somehow, the dirt and dings hint at the journeys made by “my” penny – and the journeys yet to come.