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Pennies From Heaven

Image of a person walking down a stone path, carrying a red, white, and black umbrella. Raleigh Psychotherapy, counseling, Katherine Broadway, Mdiv, LPC

Have you ever had the experience of hearing a song what feels like a million times, and never really hearing the lyrics, then hearing them at just the right moment in life and feeling like those lyrics that you had never noticed before were now speaking directly to you? That happened to me not too long ago.

For me, the song was “Pennies From Heaven” from a 1936 Bing Crosby movie. It came out during the Great Depression, and many have said the producers were using the film to raise America's spirits. The song topped the charts at the time, and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2004. However, the lyrics still never hit home for me… until now.

A long time ago, a million years BC

The best things in life were absolutely free But no one appreciated a sky that was always blue

So it was planned that they should vanish now and then

That's what storms were made for...

Every time it rains, it rains, pennies from heaven Don't you know each cloud contains pennies from heaven?

You'll find your fortune's fallin' all over the town

Make sure that your umbrella is upside down

Trade them for a package of sunshine and flowers If you want the things you love, you must have showers So, when you hear it thunder, don't run under a tree There'll be pennies from heaven for you and me

Remember the friend I wrote about in an earlier article who was diagnosed with cancer? She has been kind enough to allow me to continue to share her story. That cancer was found almost by accident. She went to the dentist to have a tooth removed, and the dentist noticed that the infection looked suspicious, so he ordered a biopsy on the tissue around the tooth. What was to be a routine tooth extraction became a crisis! The biopsy revealed an unusual form of lymphoma.

When she returned to the dentist office to have her stitches removed, the staff had learned the news and was very sad and apologetic. My friend’s response was to thank them for saving her life. My friend knew the intervention by her dentist was the reason that the cancer had been found.

These were her pennies from heaven. She turned her proverbial umbrella upside down to catch all the good in the situation that she could. She was not happy about having cancer but she was full of gratitude. She was aware that the cancer could have gone undetected for a long time. She was symptom-free. All her tests turned out well. The cancer was detected in stage one. She has no other signs of cancer in her body and the prognosis looks good. She believes she received 95% good news.

She is far from finished with this situation, and she has already identified more pennies from heaven in what's to come. Her treatment is close to her home. Her job is willing to accommodate her treatments and let her work from home when needed. Her family is sticking by her, and friends and neighbors are lining up to offer assistance at the blink of an eye. Her umbrella is turned upside down and she is catching as many pennies from heaven as she can to help her through this ordeal.

The bottom line is this: We never know what will come our way. We can be assured it will be something. We cannot control what life brings to us. We bargain with God, the universe, with ourselves and others to avoid pain, hardship and fear. It never works. You cannot run under a tree to hide from the pain. Once again, I am reminded that life is filled with uncertainty, hardship and pain and there are riches to be found in every situation – pennies from heaven – if you look for them. What we can do is have an umbrella that we turn upside down to catch the many blessings that will present themselves to us, if we are looking.

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