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The impact of a penny

by Danielle Martell


To my dear friend Paula Trotter-Long: supplier of my World Vision piggy bank fish whom I nicknamed Gilbert – because Gilbert has gills.

Gilbert the fish is reaching max capacity! It has come to my attention that supporting charities in Canada today has become a more expensive habit than was previously the case.

The loss of the Canadian penny forced me to become more generous than I perhaps would otherwise be. Due to the loss of the one-cent coin, my primary giving mechanism has become nickels and dimes. Since I typically receive more dimes than nickels on any given day, dimes have become Gilbert’s most regular diet. This poses two foreseeable dilemmas:
1) Dimes are small and Gilbert is hungry.
2) Every 2.5 dimes I feed Gilbert is the equivalent to the size of one quarter.

The implications: why don’t I stop being cheap and just feed Gilbert with quarters? It is charity after all.

You get where this is going – all of sudden, the cost of charity giving has skyrocketed! It used to cost me a penny, now it costs a soaring 25 cents!

Now, because I have been so well trained theologically, I am in the beginning stages of engaging the reflections of my mind with the thoughts of my heart. So I said to my heart, “Heart, what do you think?” Its thoughts were dull and I grew impatient with its laborious meanderings.

Now, I know the secrets of my heart truly lie in its feelings and upon the consultation of my feelings, a resounding burst of electrified emotion oozed out of me. “I feel exploited by the Canadian penny! Robbed of the joy of giving! Exposed by the revelation of my grotesque penny-pinching giving habits!” I became rudely enlightened that the art of penny-pinching was craftily snatched from my grasp one peaceful night while I slept – unaware of the implications that I would soon awake with eyes wide open to the reality that penny-pinching, in many ways, is no longer an option for us Canadians.

However, as I pondered the disgusting greed of my heart, my bountiful lust for coins, and my insatiable craving to appear more generous than I am, it dawned on me that Canada today is a different place.

As I considered the culture-shifting implications of what will result, I found myself wonderfully warmed by the paradigm shift I was encountering.

Today, as a Canadian, I am proud to say that I am now free to give more generously than I ever have been before. We are a wealthy country, now with more to give and less to cling to, more ways to aid others and greater depths to explore in the age-old truth that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

This means greater freedom borne from less greed. The result is deeper joy. If Canadians continue to move in this direction, I again attest to my wholehearted affirmation that I am proud to be Canadian.

All that to say: I need a new fish. Please.


Danielle Martell is the priest in charge at St. Andrews Anglican church in Tsawwassen, BC.