by Doris Clark Splichal on 07/26/13
A penny is our coin of smallest value. We will hardly bother to pick it up when passing it on the street. There has even been talk of retiring the penny in our monetary system.
This could have been the story of our Penny when God gave her life. She was born and promptly placed in a foster home. She was then sent to live in a state school. From there, she was placed in a small institution specializing in persons with hearing problems. From there, she was sent to Sherman to live at an institution called Sherman Habilitation with approximately 60 other persons.
Her world would have been dismal except for her job at Goodwill Industries. Every day she had somewhere to go, something to do. The institution where she lived was nothing more than an imperfect place to sleep that offered little more than that, a shameful place of horrors for many of its residents.
Evergreen Presbyterian Ministries came into Penny's life when they came to Sherman, purchased the institution where she lived and placed the residents in small group homes. For the first time in Penny's life she was going to live in a real home--one with a dining room, a living room, her own bedroom, a kitchen and a beautiful yard with a deck. Penny's life was changing. Someone was recognizing her real worth and she began to blossom.
She came into our lives at Covenant Presbyterian Church while she was living at Sherman Habilitation. At first she was shy and reserved. She had difficulty hearing and seeing and had very little communication with those around her. As we became acquainted with her and as her life began to change at home, we saw a transformation in Penny. It was as if she were waking from a long sleep and discovering a whole new world surrounding her. After improvements in her hearing and seeing care, Penny began to respond to this new world with more awareness and participation. Penny found excitement in her name, her new home, her amazing art talent, her karate class and in the first vacation she had ever experienced when she went to DisneyLand.
Penny's worth was appreciated in her church. She became a member of the church, and endeared herself to members of the congregation with her infectious smile and her obvious pleasure in atttending. Penny was not simply a taker at the church. Her service to that community became important to her. Every Sunday she faithfully brought her offering. This occurred after a lesson on stewardship in her Joy Class where she pledged her support. She made lunch for workers at the Habitat for Humanity house in Sherman and helped serve them, and participated in worship by presenting the Joy Dances of The Lord's Prayer, The Twenty-Third Psalm and The Apostles' Creed that her class had learned in Sunday School.
When the state required that Penny should have a medical guardian because of the medication she was taking, members of the church, Ron and Kathy Roberts, stepped forward to accept that responsibility. An amazing thing happened. The Roberts took their guardianship of Penny very seriously. They visited her at her home and took her shopping and out to eat for her birthday. They brought her presents for Valentines Day. They invited her "home" for Thanksgiving and Christmas. For the first time in her life Penny went home for the holidays. She was the brightest and shiniest Penny.
Soon after that experience, Penny's worth became fulfilled when she went to her new home in Heaven. All those who knew her felt their lives had been enriched by having known her.
Penny's life was enriched by the care and love she received from Evergreen Presbyterian Ministries, by her membership at Covenant Presbyterian Church, and by the responsible, loving actions of her guardians. All these people recognized Penny's worth.