Brother, Can You Spare A Dime…

I stole the following from my facebook account. It was a note I wrote about a good man and the influence his action had in my life at the time.

I heard a story about a wonderful father the other day. His name was Jim Beals. Jim was a pastor living in Oregon and married to a good friend of mine, Becky. Jim and I attended college together for a time in Kansas, but Becky and I first met in heaven…uh… Longmont, Colorado. Her father pastored a church in Longmont just prior to my father. Yes, Becky and I belong to the sometimes twisted family of preacher’s kids. Jim and Becky had a wonderful marriage, filled with three daughters, beautiful country, and difficult days both in ministry and personally. They loved each other through Jim’s 6 and one-half year battle with cancer, which took him home to his Heavenly Father about 4 months ago.

I have enjoyed hearing the stories of how wonderful Jim was as a husband and father. A particular story which has become very meaningful to me, speaks to his ability to let his daughter’s know just how special and loved they are. Jim would save all his dimes in eclectic containers and as soon as each daughter left home for college, he would send the hoarded dimes to them at school. Along with each container, Jim included a message proclaiming, “Here are some dimes for you because you are a perfect 10! I love you, Dad!”

I can just imagine the delight of each girl as they openned each package, feeling a long way from home, a little intimidated by their new surroundings or circumstances common to the formal break from the familiarity of home and family. Jim purposefully waited until each girl went to college before starting the new tradition. Their youngest daughter, Dena, graduates this year from high school, so never got to open a new package and read the endearing note. However, while Becky was cleaning out Jim’s church office, she came across a strange little statue on his desk. Perplexed, she began to put it in the “give-away pile” until she heard a rattling sound coming from inside the statue. Upon further inspection, she found it to be a bank, with a new collection of dimes rattling inside. Immediately Becky knew they were for Dena. She knew Jim was lovingly squirrelling away more dimes for another “perfect 10.” Although he was unable to complete the transaction, Jim’s intention and heart was reaching forward to the day when his youngest daughter would feel most alone without her father. His love still wrapped long arms around his little girl in the encouraging passion of a father for his beloved child. Becky shared the story and tradition with Dena and promised all their girls the tradition would continue.

While Becky told me the story with broken voice and through tears of love for her tender husband, I listened with wonder and gratitude for the gift this man had transmitted to his daughters. He affirmed their beauty, intelligence, and unique giftedness by letting them know he valued them as perfect. Perfectly created as THEY were supposed to be. Not comparing them to another by some undefinable standard. But letting them know they were worthy of his love and respect, so they could love and respect themselves as well. His love freeing them to face life with courage. Saying by their lives, “I can live out my worth, because my father loves me.”

As I walked along, staring at the ground while Becky spoke over the phone, I suddenly saw a dime lying on the asphalt. Immediately, I heard the heart of God through the lone dime, “Here is a dime, because you are a perfect 10! I love you, Dad!” I quickly interrupted Becky and began to tell her of my find, but my voice broke from the immense joy at my Father’s message to me! I dearly needed that message from home. And there have been several other dimes within the past week that I have found in the same fashion. It is changing the way I view myself. I am understanding God’s love for me in a deeper way, with each stray dime I find. And I’m looking for ways to communicate the message to my children, friends, and family.

Our ability to love other people is tied to our ability to accept God’s love and value of us. Actually, we are each God’s second gift to us as individuals. His first gift is the gift of Himself, but His next gift is who He has created each of us to be. The psalmist says we are “Fearfully and Wonderfully made…” and that God saw us in the “hidden place” where we were created. His love for us speaks in His constant messaging, both instant and ancient, to us individually and collectively.

So, Jim…brother…thanks for the spare dime.

The other day I was walking along and a coin on the sidewalk caught my eye. I almost passed it by, thinking it was a penny, but decided to pick it up anyway. As I reached for it, I recognized the size and, although it was scuffed and discolored by dirt and who-knows-what-else, found it to be a dime. Immediately, the lesson Jim taught me came back to my mind and heart. Although the dime was in such rough shape, it still held the intrinsic  value it had at the moment of its creation. My Father, once again, was graciously reminding me of how valuable I am.
But that isn’t true for just me. You, who are reading this… You have the intrinsic value of a one-of-a-kind-can’t-be-reproduced masterpiece. No matter how scuffed you are. No matter where your choices have taken you. Your Creator infused you with inestimable worth. We all look for someone to love us…really love us… as we are… to the depths of our souls… And God does!  He knows your name… He knows where you live… And He wants to hang out…. to get to know one another. He is knowable.  You can even talk to Him now…

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