Today I found a dime. It was on the ground during my morning walk.
Earlier this year I attended a Music Conference where a colleague told me a story: A former instructor who had emigrated to the U.S. from Europe many years ago believed that when you saw money on the sidewalk, even if it was a small coin like a penny, you should pick it up. It’s true value lies in an opportunity – you should look at the year printed on the coin and be grateful for something good that happened in that year.
The dime I found this morning was minted in 2015. Well, I do have a standout memory from 2015.
My summer music camp travels had begun and I was in Ottawa, Kansas – which was a new town for me. Though I was watching my step, somehow I ended up on the ground during a morning jog and later on, in the emergency room. I broke my ankle in two places.
Once home in Houston, the doctor recommended surgery, followed by time off and physical therapy. Mixed in was depression due to the sudden inactivity, learning to get around on crutches and braces and missing planned events. All told, it added up to months of time I would have much rather spent doing other things.
So, today when I picked up that dime, it was disappointing to see the year 2015. The first thing I thought of as a memory was my broken leg.
I know we’re supposed to be thankful even for challenges because they often work out for good. But, on the other hand, it would sure be nice to have a happy memory from 2015!!
So I worked to think and to remember one: it was also the year I traveled to Ohio to work with students in a small but vibrant studio with a family who hosted me and with whom I’ve stayed in touch.
I decided that’s a pretty nice memory from 2015 that I can feel grateful for!!
And another memory came – I started a new job as a college professor, which has been great.
And then I remembered something else really special – an Arts organization in Guatemala City endowed a scholarship in my name to allow an underprivileged child to receive music lessons. That has been a standout – and they regularly communicate about her progress and joy in playing. I was even able to meet her in 2015.
And I met all of the nice people – including Emergency Room Staff – in Ottawa, Kansas for the first time.
So – to overcome the bitter memory, it required a bit of digging for one nice one. After that, it seemed as if the walls gave way and many other good thoughts followed.
Here is the dime that inspired it. The coin that taught me – much in the same way the physical therapist did – that the first step is often the hardest one to take.
“Success breeds success.”