The Dime Story
Several days after my wife passed away, I found a penny and I remember hearing of people that kept finding pennies shortly after their loved ones died.1957, the year Sherri was born....
Being the typical rebel (and sometimes cynic) that I can be, I thought "What a bunch of hogwash. Everyone finds pennies all the time. It's just people trying to make something out of nothing to comfort themselves. God doesn't do that kind of stuff."
I thought it really ironic that the very next day I found a solo dime while working out at the gym I go to. "OK" I thought, "That is kind of funny and appropriate, she liked to be fit AND Sherri never was a 'cheap date'." (For those who knew her: You know she had very fine tastes-i.e. "expensive".)
If I think about it, I've found dimes before-but usually with other coins, because while people usually won't pick up a penny or maybe even a nickel most of us will pick up a dime and groups of coins. Maybe I've found a solo dime two or three times in my entire life. Maybe. And, as a guy, sometimes I'm not observant so I miss stuff.
Sherri and I laughed a few years ago when she came across this cartoon....yep, that's me folks!
After the gym find, about 10 days later I was walking our dog Ricci (below, Sherri's favorite animal ever) and came across another single coin. You guessed it....
At this point I thought, Ha ha, what a "coin-incidence" (pardon the pun) and gave it no more thought.
Two weeks later, I was at Sprout during Friday's farmers market (it's housed in a former converted church).Sprout was one of Sherri's favorite places to go for food (and also where we held her memorial service in July). While there on the floor, I found another single coin.
A Dime- of course.
Now I'm thinking, This is weird. Because in that same period of time, I neither found or saw any single penny, nickel or groups of coins. Just 3 dimes in 6 weeks and all in places that had meaning.
Then, two weeks later I found..... another dime.
At that point, it really moved me. It made me realize that God CAN be bigger than whatever box we put Him into. 4 dimes in 8 weeks-and not one other coin. I was humbled by my previous attitude to mock others for finding pennies or a parking space or whatever. Yes, sometimes, it's dumb luck. Sometimes we make stuff up to appease our conscience. But sometimes the Creator of everything can show us that HE is in control of not just big things, but little ones as well.
About a month ago, I was thinking about writing about this Dime story, but I thought, Nah, even though I now believe God (who knows every single hair on our heads: Matthew 10:31-31) can do those kind of things, I figured people will think its just an extraordinary happenstance.
Then I found another dime.
This one was on the floor of my reception room (below) from one of two clients, neither of which knew anything of this story. Thus, I decided to write this story for you to read.
In August 2014, I had photographed the Nation family (owners of Nations Mini Mix-a concrete company) at their home. Our sidewalk on 5th street had cracks in it, so we did a partial trade to replace it. I figured they'd come in March or April (2015) to fix it, months before Sherri passed away but they didn't
(A side note: Sherri died unexpectedly on June 5th, 2015, the day our youngest-Sophia-graduated from High School.)
This past fall, Nation's concrete contacted me and arranged a time to come do the work. It was fortuitous really. My son wrote Sherri's name as a tribute because I probably won't own our home 10 years from now, but on the sidewalk-one can always walk by and see this. The brass piece was sent to me recognizing Sherri's body being used as a donor to others. To me, the figure looks like a dancer (Sherri got her UO degree in dance).
And we had to put in a 2015 dime.
I thought "What a nice end to this story".
But God had other ideas.
UPDATE #1: In mid December, I got back from a cruise I took with a friend (who works at Royal Caribbean and offered me a deal I couldn't pass up on). Sherri also loved to travel. I was dealing with a bacterial infection during the whole trip, so I was quite tired when I got home. Waiting at the busy baggage claim in Eugene, I decided to go over to lean against the wall, as I was feeling pretty weak. Of course there were many other people there (baggage claim can be a bit of a pandemonium as you know). There was a slight rail molding on the wall about 40" off the ground and on top of that rail where I elected to lean?
2 Dimes and 2 Pennies.
I laughed out loud to myself. I figured, the dimes doubled up and had a 2 penny bonus, so God was now done with the dimes.
I was wrong.
UPDATE #2: Sherri loved music-and we had over 100 music cds (pre I-Tunes). As time went on she probably thought, well, we can't get rid of that one, Bruce might want it as I thought the same for her. So they crammed our cabinet and with some exceptions, weren't played.
In late December, I sold a bunch to House of Records and took what they didn't buy to CD World in west Eugene to sell the rest. After they paid me, I went off to the side to retrieve the plastic tub that I brought in holding all those CDS. On the edge of that counter, (a good 5 feet away from the cash register) was:
A single Dime.
UPDATE #3: In March 2015 I was booked to be one of the featured speakers at a large photography convention in Orlando in late January (2016). Sherri and I decided for me to go alone, but with her passing, I thought it would be a good way to have more memories with my kids by going to Universal studios as well as Walt Disney World.
The first night the three of us were there, we went to Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) for dinner and shopping. As we were walking on the way back to the hotel I stopped and said: "Look down!"
It was a Dime-heads up, all by itself.
This time I broke down and cried. I felt it was a confirmation to me from God that I was being a good dad and doing the right thing with our kids.
UPDATE #4: On March 15th , I was photographing 3 year old Coen who LOVED fire engines, so his mom, Breanna, and Grandmother (Tonya Parcell) and I arranged to go to the fire station a half mile from the studio. When we arrived, no fire engine. I told them that I couldn't just stay as I had a head shot I needed to take in 45 minutes, so we can meet back here in an hour.
Coming back: Still no fire engine, but the firemen inside said there WAS one at the Fire station at 28th and Centennial, about 2 miles away, so we went there.
To enter the station, we came thru the back door, but of course I wanted to photograph Coen in FRONT of the hook and ladder truck to get his portrait like this:
When the firemen opened the large doors in front of this engine to let in light and give me access, Tonya and I walked outside and there on the ground was:
(For me, it confirms my continuing in a profession I love.)
UPDATE #5: Trying to process grief of losing your spouse is huge. Time doesn't heal wounds, but working through it helps like reading CS Lewis' "A Grief Observed" counseling and going to Grief Share (a national grief group with small groups all over the country). While the scar will always be there, the bleeding can stop. Part of that healing is dealing with "things".
Sherri used to be a Cafe owner and antique dealer (pre-kids) and had furnished our home with many beautiful vintage and antique items. I decided I wanted to sell a wicker chair that we rarely used and a wicker chair that we never used. I moved them in the living room to take "cleaner" photographs of various angles of them (see below) and then returned them to their original location. When I was putting the one in the above photo away (it's one I don't recall anyone ever sitting in), I tipped it differently so it was easier to carry than when I first moved it over.
I heard a single coin drop.........Yep.
I thought maybe the kids planted this one as a joke? They didn't.
10 times in 10 months.
I don't know what the odds are of these dime finds and some of you may think I'm making this up. I wish I could offer more proof than the 2 times I had witnesses, but honestly, this is all true. Each time I think it's the last time. Perhaps it is now and that is OK. Really. God has been so good to me.
Ever since that 4th coin, I was convinced about the Omnipotence of God. It's easy to talk about that concept, but to experience it-well that is another thing. A very comforting thing.
What do these dimes mean to me? That the Lord of the Universe cares for little me. That Sherri is in a very, very good place. That God can do anything He wants from moving nations to providing comfort to His children in minuscule tiny ways.
I grew up a Christian Scientist, which is neither scientific nor christian theologically and borrows heavily (philosophically) from Zen-Buddhism. For example their views are we don't need a savior since this life or death or sickness was not really real-we just needed to know we were God's perfect children. There is no hell. There is no sin. Those just deny the beauty that is there. Jesus was the one who "arrived" and is our example of what we can be.
Fortunately while stationed overseas in the Air Force, I started reading the New Testament with an open mind. After a few months, I was internally convicted and decided to surrender to Jesus and asked Him to forgive me and come into my life. I was clueless about any christian sub-culture. No one told me what to do, no preacher on TV, no hand out booklet, no friend. But once I surrendered to the Living God, I knew then it was real-I felt His presence for the first time IN me. Sinful me.
Jesus Christ was the centerpiece of our 35 year marriage. I'm sure we would've divorced without His working in us and each of us constantly surrendering our selfish desires to Him. So when Sherri passed, I knew she went to be with Jesus in a great place (John 14:2) and THAT is what gives me comfort, for life here sucks without her.
She was my best friend. Our marriage was the closest it had ever been. She was the mother of our children. So yeah, it's hard. I'm learning to adapt to being without her and that is why these dimes have given me comfort and hope. I told my counselor, that "It's not as if my life has turned a page. It isn't even a new chapter. It's a whole new book. And I liked the old book." But that is not what God has for me now.
These dimes have been a sign to me that I will be OK, that God will direct me and take care of me and He can do the same with you if you let Him.
What does it say on that dime? Liberty (of our souls if) In God We Trust.
That is what they have done for me. Helped me Trust more in Him. And in so doing, giving me freedom from my grief.
So if you have a friend who is going through loss (death, divorce, job-whatever it may be), encourage them to read this so they can know that the Creator and Mover of all things can touch them in real ways where they are.
If he can place His hand on dimes to bring healing, He can do wonders on your heart. <3