Book of Hours: June

Knights of Change: Order of the Dime

Like everyone I have a few problems in my life. Some are a bit more than normal but I'm not going to get into my whole life story or all the problems. For the purpose I am writing I'll focus on one thing. I suffer from severe depressions. Clinical depression, chemical depression, it's not simply feeling sad or something where you can just "cheer up" or feel better if things just start going your way. Medication helps somewhat or it did in the beginning. Now not so much for me though for most people it works very well and they can come off it and lead normal lives after without needing special care.

I was going through a particularly bad period of time. In part because my mood was at a very dark low and I was in deep depression, in part because my network of friends had scattered in a number of ways. Some friends had gone off on journeys of personal discovery working in other lands or different parts of the country and others were just very busy. I had developed many coping skills that were holding me together, but much of the zest that makes life a pleasure was somewhat lacking. Still I tried to keep busy. That was not easy with the low physical, spiritual, and creative levels of energy I had. But I prevailed and continued on.

Then one day as I was walking home I spotted a shiny dime sitting there on the sidewalk. Now normally I won't stoop to pick up a penny though I might pick up a nickel. I would pick up a quarter or larger coin, but I don't recall ever really finding a dime. I'm not sure if they just don't fall out of a person's pocket as easily due to their small size and light weight or because of their value that they simply get snatched up so swiftly.

Anyway it was so very nice and shiny. Just like it was fresh from the mint and I put it in my pocket rather than my change purse. I was thinking about lucky pennies and though I'm not superstitious I do tend towards being sentimental and picking up souvenirs. For some reason finding the dime cheered me up a little. It was unusual and of a bit more value than a one cent piece or nickel yet not so much money that I would feel concerned about the person who lost it missing it. When I find paper money I am concerned that the person who lost it might really need it.

I didn't think too much about it and went about my business that evening perhaps feeling a bit better. Of course there came a time, far too soon when I was very troubled. Things weren't working out I couldn't see daylight. I'm an optimist normally but even that wasn't helping as much as normal. For some reason I spotted another shiny dime in the alley as I walked trying to clear my head. I felt a little shiver and as I reached down to pick up the dime I saw the blue sky somewhat reflecting in it and realized that even though I was feeling down it was a pretty nice day and it was good to be able to walk even though perhaps my foot was bothering me. Others were not so fortunate. I put the dime in my pocket and carried on.

It was a long bad stretch with little contact with friends and family, but it seemed that whenever things really seemed bleak I'd come across a dime, sometimes in the oddest places. Not always out on the street either. Sometimes it would be in an old coat pocket or some boxes I was straightening up. But each would lift my spirits and I would get a feeling that it was like a little message from God. Just a little reminder that he was there and I wasn't alone.

For some reason I kept the dimes separate and eventually put them in a little cup. They did add up after a while. I knew that I wasn't going to spend them because they were very special to me. I wanted to pass on this special feeling to others.

What if other people were to find dimes? Perhaps they might just brighten someone's day? Oh that person might not get the spiritual feeling that I got out of it and it might not be helping to pull them out of deep dark depression. A dime won't buy much, but it is something a person would perhaps pick up more likely than a penny or a nickel.

It struck me. Now in my case I know it was God working through those dimes. The number of dimes I found in a short time was too great for me to account for by chance and I haven't found so many dimes by chance since then even looking for them. Others could attribute it to luck. But what if I wrote a little story about this and how finding a little dime helped me. Simply thinking of how it felt special and how for me it felt like a reminder that someone was thinking of me. Perhaps if the story were to get passed around a person feeling down or blue finding a dime might realize that someone who didn't know them had perhaps seeded that dime in the hopes that a little hope might be passed on, that a total stranger might pick it up and have their spirits buoyed with no obligation.

A roll of dimes doesn't cost much for a person who has enough money for the moment. They could drop a dime here and there as they go about their day with the hopes that someone might find the dime and it might bring good feelings and do some good. That dime might make both the person who leaves it and the person who finds it feel good.

Perhaps that is why I found those dimes at a time of need and it is a way I can pass on the feeling of love I felt from God when I found them. I plan on starting to seed those dimes. Perhaps I can in other ways as well as tokens and reminders. But I also want to pass this story on so that more people might hear about the dimes I found and pass on the hope with dimes of their own or perhaps recognize a shiny dime and a dream when they are in a low time.

A dime is only worth ten cents. Ten will get you a dollar. But perhaps there can be greater value if found with a bit of special meaning behind it. Perhaps dimes could be passed on with a bit of love?

Think about it the next time you see a dime.

By Darrell Wade Penner, March 5th 2005

An earlier version of this exists from around 2003

Copyright 2005 by Darrell Wade Penner