Love Like a Magic Penny

Hobson's Resort - Lake Jefferson, Cleveland Minnesota

Hobson’s Resort – Lake Jefferson, Cleveland Minnesota

My parents got a slide projector when I was around seven years old. The slide projector was a wonder. My parents loved the large screen pictures which would come out on winter nights, as we traced our lives through summers, birthdays, Christmases and two trips to Florida. But none of those slides were ever made into a picture that could be put into a photo album, given to a grandparent or hung on a wall. The last picture I have of myself is of my birthday party just before I started second grade.

With today’s technology, this would be an easy fix. That became impossible on Easter Sunday the year I graduated from high school. Our home burned. The only pictures which escaped were a few I had kept in an album in my room. Our slides were gone and most everything else in our home except our bedrooms. In the end, the only pictures I have of my early childhood came from the pictures which were given away. Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles realized how much those photos would mean to my parents. They gifted them back.

I discovered the year of the fire, how quickly possessions can disappear. Love remains. Like our lost pictures, only what was given away is something I possess today.

Malvina Reynolds wrote a song about giving love away. Her message was that people who love are the ones who receive love back. “Love,” she said, “is like a magic penny.” The lyrics go like this:

“Love is something if you give it away,
Give it away, give it away.
Love is something if you give it away,
You end up having more.

It’s just like a magic penny,
Hold it tight and you won’t have any.
Lend it, spend it, and you’ll have so many
They’ll roll all over the floor.

For love is something if you give it away,
You end up having more.”

The less we give of ourselves to the world, the less we receive back. What we hang on tightly to, we are most likely to lose. The more love we give away, the more we are surprised by love coming back.