I watched as the collection plate made its way in my direction. I was a boy of six and had never missed a day in Sunday School, where we learned the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, forgiving and giving. That Sunday we learned about giving.
I sat next to my mom with 75 cents in my hand. For a boy of six in the early ’60s, I was rich–Donald Trump rich. Should I give a quarter? Should I put it all in? Should I give nothing? Surely a boy of six would be forgiven for anything. And then the collection plate reached me.
I’m not sure why I made the decision I did, but I laid three quarters in the plate and watched as it made its way down the pew. I looked up at my mom to see if she noticed, but she seemed lost in thought, although few things got by her in those days.
With the last hymn sung, the last prayer offered, we said our goodbyes and made our way home to where our house smelled like potroast, as it always did on Sundays.
After lunch, I headed outside to the swing hanging from the big oak tree in the back yard. Still thinking about the events of that morning, I looked below me in the dusty dirt and saw a quarter. Jumping from the swing, now on my knees in the dust, there was another quarter and some dimes, a few nickels and some pennies. I smiled as I counted a dollar fifty in change.
I never know how that money found its way below that swing. It probably fell from the pockets of the last kid there or perhaps put there by the Hand of God–or Mom, which was pretty close to the same thing.