There are certain dates within my life that I choose to remember and one of them happens to be today.
Today would have been my grandfather’s 99th birthday, and for some reason when his birthday rolls around I don’t seem to miss him, but I remember him. He moved “onward” into heaven on December 17, 2000.
When I was a child I used to look across the room (while he was reading in his chair) and wonder if Jesus didn’t grow to be an old man if he wouldn’t have looked like my grandfather. I lived with my grandparents until my mother remarried, and during that time my grandfather became the man who would forever mold my life. He was truly the greatest story-teller I’ve ever met. He only told a handful of stories, but he never tired from sharing them, and within each story was a beautiful lesson of life.
In June of 1976, my grandfather took me fishing. It was a grand day. He gave me two things that day … one I’ve spent my lifetime trying to forget: an old hat made of yarn and Coors Beer cans … and the other, a coin. It wasn’t just any ol’ coin … it was a coin that would define my life.
“Gina, there’s something I want to give you, and when I do, I want you to understand the value of the gift.” I remember looking behind him wondering where he was hiding that new fishing pole I had asked for. His right hand was clenched and his voice got quiet. I smiled and listened. “In this hand I hold everything that I value.” He told me to open my hand and when I did he handed me a coin.
“A COIN?” I said.
“With this silver coin you will have everything you ever need. You are never poor … nor are you ever alone. Keep it in your pocket, and you will feel its weight. It will either weigh you down or make you smile. The choice is yours. Don’t ever sell the coin, nor give it away because it’s the best of what I’ll ever leave you.” When he was done he walked away humming the tune “America,” written by Samuel F. Smith.
My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing; land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside let freedom ring!
I remember standing there holding the coin thinking if that coin was the best of what he had to give, I knew there was no fishing pole in sight.
On the worst days of my life, I pulled out that coin. I carried it around with me to feel the weight in my pocket. I’ve honestly looked at it for hours… staring to see what he could see that I couldn’t. When I had each of my children he would send no flowers, sign no card, but he would simply hand me a coin. “Gina, when your children are grown … give them their coins.”
It’s interesting how each day I pull out my coin and smile. He did give me all he had to give. The coin I carry is a 1923 Silver Dollar. On one side it says: United States of America and E. Pluribus Unum. Turn the coin over, LIBERTY and In God We Trust. It’s interesting how when one understands the meaning of something how it actually means something!
I am “As one” (United)
I am “Politically organized under one government” (States)
I am “An American” (America)
I am “One of many” (E. Pluribus Unum)
I am “Free” (Liberty)
I am “Agreeing” (In God “We” Trust … my Grandfather and I)
Today, in celebration (of what would-have-been my grandfather’s 99th birthday) I would like to give you a gift. I would like you to put a coin in your pocket and keep it with you. Remember: “With your coin you will have everything you ever need. You are never poor … nor are you ever alone. Keep it in your pocket, and you will feel its weight. It will either weigh you down or make you smile. The choice is yours. Don’t ever sell the coin, nor give it away because it’s the best of what I’ll ever leave you.”
What does your coin say?
The Parable of the Bags of Gold
14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matthew 25: 14-30
Abraham Lincoln was said to walk back several miles to a store when he noticed he had been given one penny too much in change. I don’t believe it was the penny he was delivering, but the message.
ONWARD TO REMEMBERING!