Counting Pennies

frown Somewhere, there is a child. One child, in a sea of dusty children, whose face is empty. She wants to smile but has no reason.

Half-way across the globe, in the corner of a small boy’s closet, a mason jar sits behind a stuffed elephant. Two first-place soccer trophies stand guard on either side of the jar. The jar is chock full of spare change.

The empty-faced child has waited for her smile about as long as that jar has been collecting change. In between the child and the jar there looms a lie. The never-make-a-difference-lie creates an enormous chasm.

For a brief moment, the jar’s owner chooses to ignore the lie. “What do you want me to do, God?” The young boy lifts the jar . . . counts the cost.

On the other side of the world, the empty-faced child looks up. Inside her, a tiny seed of hope cracks open. A green sprout emerges. Her face─no longer empty─registers a shred of almost imperceptible change. The corner of her bottom lip turns up. It’s not a smile but rather a hint of something.

The boy opens the jar and begins counting pennies. He takes 437 pennies to his mom, who will later deposit them in the bank and write a check for four dollars and thirty-seven cents. The check will travel in an envelope to an organization on the other side of the globe that reaches out to boys and girls with no reason to smile.

In the darkened corner of the boy’s closet, the lie lays broken into a million pieces.

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