When my sisters and I were young, our parents taught us the song, “Pennies from Heaven” (music by Arthur Johnston and words by Johnny Burke), which we would sing together in harmony. My dad sang bass, and my sisters and I would sing the soprano and alto parts. My mom, who could sing just about any part but bass, would fill in wherever a note was needed.
Word got around that our family sang (and danced), and we were invited to perform at various functions in our community. I remember this time with such joy. We never did stop singing together, even when all of us kids had grown up and moved away. All reunions would include a very rousing, if somewhat rusty, rendition of “Pennies from Heaven,” as well as a host of other family favorites. Many happy times were spent singing together whenever and wherever these gatherings took place.
This past year, within a few months, both of my parents, my mother-in-law, other close friends, and two dear pets passed away. This all happened so quickly that the loss felt overwhelming.
One day, not too long ago, my heart was very heavy and I turned to God in prayer with all of my being. In this quiet space, I heard, “Sing ‘Pennies from Heaven.’ ” So I did. This was the first time I’d thought deeply about the lyrics. The song was originally written during the Great Depression and performed by Bing Crosby in the 1936 film of the same name. It’s a song of hope, cheer, and promise, something people needed during that rather dark time in human history.
Here are a few of the lyrics:
“Don’t you know each cloud contains pennies from heaven?
You’ll find your fortune fallin’ all over town…
Be sure that your umbrella is upside down, down.”
As I sang, I could hear just how my mom, dad, and sisters would all sing in perfect harmony with me, and I felt so comforted. I knew God was meeting my need in a very special way, and I paid close attention to what He was trying to tell me. The thought came to start looking for the good rather than expecting the darkness to continue. It was like God was saying, “Start looking for those pennies!” And I did.
I knew God was meeting my need in a very special way.
For example, my oldest daughter shared such a wonderful insight into how she was thinking about my mother, her grandmother. My daughter said she was loving her and wondering in what new ways she would be thinking about her grandmother. What struck me was the fact that my daughter was expecting this to be revealed. To me, this “penny” held the promise of there being no separation of God’s ideas and no end to the relationships we have with each other in Mind. It also helped me to understand better the spiritual, infinite nature of our absolute oneness with God. God sustains and protects us always, and that kind of care can’t be interrupted by an event called death.
These healing ideas or “pennies” come to us just when they’re needed the most. I have literally found pennies on the ground as I’ve been out walking, or out and about running errands. Each time I’ve found one I’ve had a wonderful symbolic reminder that God is not only with me, comforting me, but is still holding my mom, dad, and all His children in perfect harmony. I know in my heart that God meets every human need, but these new insights really brought home the truth of “Immanuel, or, ‘God with us,’” in such a tangible way (see Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. xi).
I now have a better handle on the truth that God is the one and only Life. I still love and think about my parents and others close to me who have passed away, but I no longer feel separated from them. I don’t feel like I’m missing something because they’re not physically with me.
There are still many lessons to learn from this experience, but because of it I’ve come to expect those “pennies from heaven,” those healing, angel ideas from divine Love that rescue our hearts in times of trouble.
Malissa Lakin-Watson is a Christian Science practitioner living in Savannah, Georgia.