A Penny Saved….

About a month ago, I went jogging with my brother (well he kinda left me behind, I’m not fast). It was a nice trail, mostly sandy (great for the knees) and looped around a golf course and a park. I hate jogging in public, especially since I’m the only one my size and all these people run pass me (it was all hard work that got them there, so it should be motivating instead of mortifying).

Somewhere after my second mile, I lost the trail (oopsie) when the sand ended and the trail followed the sidewalk. I crossed the parking lot, jogging parallel to the street and the “invisible” trail. Amongst the dirt and wood chips peeked out a familiar green. I squinted, having left my glasses at home, and stopped at the realization of what it was. Of course, I checked my surroundings, not too suspiciously before crouching down and dusting the dirt from an intact five dollar bill. I rejoiced.

Once as I child, I had a similar experience in front of a Pathmark store. But my glee soon died as I held the incomplete dollar in my small hand. I turned it around, hoping that it was only folded and indeed still usable. Alas, it was not. As I held this bill in my hand a some twenty years later, I could not hide the anxiety that wrecked me. Would this also be a disappointment? It wasn’t. Again, so unsuspiciously, I slipped the bill into my pocket. Soon I was back on the path but every so often that same anxiety hit me. Maybe I imagined the dollar? Maybe it was only a piece of paper? What if I dropped it? My fingers caressed the precious paper like Golum his ring. Well, the best thing to do is give my new found wealth to someone in need. I promised myself I would give it up to the first person who needed it.

My paranoia over my new found treasure had me switch the bill into the inner pocket of my running jacket. There it lay beside my phone as I continued my attempt at jogging. My stomach grumbled in protest at the continued exertion. As always, I didn’t eat breakfast. Only coffee for me (basically the worst thing for working out but here I am, months later running on only caffine.) ‘Hmm maybe we should go to Lolita’s or TJ’s’, I thought. With that in mind I pressed on.

After my fourth mile, my brother called. He was done and was waiting by the car. My weary body would have leapt in happiness if I could. I was a pathetic sight, pushing forward for a few seconds before shuffling like a zombie. He was dribbling a basketball, going through the motions.

“Oh my gosh!” I said breathlessly, “You wouldn’t believe what happened!” Before he could retort with something sarcastic, I unzipped my jacket to show him my prize. “I found five dollars!” His face lit up in one of those rare happily surprised expressions. He made fun of me for losing the path but said it was worth it. My own smile drooped as I turned my pockets inside out. “Oh no. I think I dropped it.” He let out a laugh.

“Only you would find five dollars and lose it.” He chuckled and shook his head. I couldn’t live it down for the rest of the day. Yet, that day taught me something. The moment I decided to use my blessing selfishly, I lost it. The greed in my heart overpowered my desire to help. Still it gets me like, ugh how could I have been to careless? On the other hand, I wouldn’t have learned my lesson.