Small Acts of Faith: The Penny Man (Guest Post By Paper Angels Author Billy Coffey)
FAITH BARISTA'S BLOG ANNIVERSARY IS HERE ! ** A Faith Barista Facebook Party Just For You! ** August 28, 2011 at 1:00pm PDT (2pmMDT/3pmCDT/4pmEDT) Imagine yourself surrounded by warm smiles & faith-inspiring prizes -- Starbuck's Gift Cards, DaySpring jewelry, gifts and books (Psst... Award-winning writer Holley Gerth God's Heart For You will be at the party too!) CLICK HERE TO RSVP PLUS ** A Paper Angels Book Giveaway Today! ** Win a copy of critically-acclaimed author Billy Coffey 's new release Paper Angels Enter to Win At The End of Today's Post ** Congratulations to our Lifegiving Book Giveaway winners: #123 Michelle G & #47 Dawn**
I held my breath.
Is anybody out there?
It kinda felt like I was writing a message in a bottle. As I floated my words out into the blogosphere those first weeks I created Faith Barista many moons ago, I wondered if anyone would answer.
Someone actually found my bobbing post in the sea of blogs and stopped long enough to read it. Not only that, he was kind enough to stop and say hello. This someone hangs his hat in another part of the country I had never traveled to.
Critically-acclaimed Snow Day author Billy Coffey lives in the foothills of Virgnia’s Blue Ridge Mountains with his wife Joanne and two kids. And somehow, Billy dropped by for a visit on the blog and became one of the first three commenters on Faith Barista.
Even though I’ve never sat on a porch to shoot the breeze down South (which this West Coast girl would love to do!), I’ve found a comfy spot always waiting for me in the stories Billy tells. He’s the kind of guy who’s like a brother, always pulling your leg, making you laugh at the most peculiar everyday things. But, what’s special about these stories is how he lets you in on the beauty he finds in people and the world. That’s because Billy’s faith in Jesus gifts him with the ability to look deep where it may be dark and see further to where there’s meaning and lasting purpose.
With a small act of faith, I have floated my words here on the blog. And with friends like you and Billy, I’ve been blessed and encouraged to keep writing those messages and hitting publish to send them out.
I still wait. And yes, there are days I still wonder. And that’s when God steps in to send me gifts through you being here.
Which reminds me of some words Billy has to share with us about faith. He’s going to take us on a walk now.
Yes, I hear the screen door opening, the Faith Barista cafe windchimes jingling…
Hey Billy! How’s it going?
Thanks for swinging by for the blog anniversary. Really appreciate it.
Yep. We’re all here. Ready to go…
Walk with me for a moment. Won’t take long, I promise. I just want to show you something.
This street here? Leads to downtown. I’m not really a downtown sort of guy. For the past few months I’ve taken my workday lunch at the coffee shop just ahead. That one, with the steaming cup of cappuccino painted on the window and the tables outside.
We’ll take a table. I know it’s hot out here, but you’ll be better able to see what I’m going to show you. And the iced coffee will keep you cool. My treat. In the words of the Penny Man, “It don’t suck.”
All these cars and people? Never seen them before. That’s the way it is in the city, right? So much randomness. But mingling around all those people are some I see each time I come here.
That little lady in the pink shorts walking her toy poodle? Every day like clock-work. And that something-year-old skateboarder looking fashionably apathetic by the lamppost in front of the antique store? He’s hung out there every day for the past four weeks. See? We all have our own routines and live in our own little worlds, but they overlap sometimes. We’re not as disconnected from one another as we think.
And then there is the Penny Man. See him? No, on the other side of the street. Nice-looking guy in the suit. Yep. Comes through about this time every day. Not sure what he does for a living. Probably a lawyer or something, since the courthouse is right around the corner there. He’s why I asked you to walk down here with me. He’s what I want to show you.
Why is he the Penny Man? Don’t get ahead of me. You’ll see, just watch him. There, see that? Missed it? Don’t worry. I don’t know how many times I watched him and missed it, too. He’s good, really good. See how his hand’s in his front pocket? Now wait.
There it is.
See how he did that? Just slipped his hand out of his pocket as cool as he can be and dropped that penny. The lady passing him by didn’t even notice, even though she was looking right at him. But we see faces when we pass people, don’t we? We never think to look at hands.
Watch. There goes another one, smooth as silk. He’ll drop another when he gets in front of the flower shop. He likes to leave them there.
Nope, don’t know why.
He’ll cross the street up by the stoplight and stop here for his iced coffee, then he’ll go back on this side and drop three more pennies. That’s six in all. The Penny Man always leaves six.
No, I don’t know why.
Oh. You didn’t mean why does he drop six pennies, but why does he drop pennies at all? Good question. I wondered that myself for the longest time. I was going to ask him one day, but he was in a hurry. He grabbed his iced coffee and turned around, and just when I was about to say something, he raised his cup and said, “It don’t suck.” Then he left.
But I figured it out. Sit here with me and look across the street.
See all those people, how they’re walking? Sort of hunched over, like they’re all carrying a weight. Heads down because they’re tired. Seems like we’re all tired now. These are tough times for everyone. We’re all tired from the weight we carry.
But watch that young woman over there in the white skirt, right in front of the flower shop.
See what she just did? She found a penny.
And more than that, it’s a heads-up penny. (All of them are, I’ve checked; and no, I have no idea how the Penny Man manages to drop them that way). And now she’s remembering that great Truth we all know—a heads-up penny means good things on the horizon.
See her putting that penny in her pocket? And now she’s smiling, really smiling. Not like before.
That’s why the Penny Man does this each day.
Just a small act—one cent—that’s worth so much more. For the faith we all need isn’t always found in ourselves. Sometimes it’s found in the acts we do for others, however small they may be.
We are all like God’s angels, called to spread His faith. Because these are hard times and we must not be hard people because of it.
We must give hope. We must give love. We must give life.
How has a small act of faith touched your life?
Billy’s loves company and he’s here virtually, reading comments and replying to questions. I’m hanging out here with Billy on the porch too — next to an empty chair that’s waiting for you.
Be sure to visit Billy –
His Blog: What I Learned Today
* To get the scoop on Billy: Check out my Special Blend Interview with Billy on Faith Barista way back when.
Billy Coffey and his wife, Joanne, live with their two children in Virgina. A product of his small-town locale, Billy counts as assets his rural authenticity, unwavering sense of purpose, and insatiable curiosity — all which tend to make his front porch a comfortably crowded place.
** Paper Angels Book Giveaway **
Let’s continue to celebrate Faith Barista’s blog anniversary by giving away Billy’s newest book Paper Angels (due out November 9, 2011). Thanks to FaithWords Publishers who is sponsoring today’s book giveaway to one randomly selected winner.
** CONGRATULATIONS TO #53 Marina Bromley **
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