A Penny for Your Peace

By Rae Barnes

My summer with four littles home started with a bang. First, my eldest got lice from one of her girlfriends at school after sharing a headband. Two days later, my three-year-old son tried to eat a penny, and we ended up in the ER at CHOP to get it removed.

It was the evening of Father’s Day. I sat, in the dark, nursing our youngest, while my son Benjamin lay in his bed in the same room. Suddenly, I heard what sounded like near vomiting sounds. “Benjamin, go get your dad. Go to the bathroom.” “Mommy, I ate the money. Now, I need to throw up.” Well, friends, it got stuck. A penny got lodged in his esophagus. He could breathe, but he couldn’t swallow so well. I volunteered to take him to the ER at Abington to see what they said since it was Father’s Day, and Chris was tired from a busy day. They rushed us to x-rays to make sure it wasn’t a battery (as that is considered a TRUE emergency). Nope. We could see Lincoln! (Appropriate, he was born on Lincoln’s birthday). So… we were in for a long, long night at two ERs with an ambulance ride in between.

My three-year-old son that screams and cries when his cereal isn’t poured quickly enough was calm and patient through the whole ordeal. He had a penny in his throat and HAD to be so uncomfortable, but he was still. He asked me to read him the longest, most boring book about Samuel Adams. He asked me to cuddle. He was calm. He even slept. I was shocked.

I expected tantrums. I expected screams. I received none of that. At one point, just after the nurse explained to us the procedure of how they would remove the penny, Benjamin realized I wouldn’t be with him while they did this. He became a little clingy and noticeably nervous, and I looked him in the eyes and told him Jesus would be with him when I can’t be. “You have nothing to be afraid of,” I said to him. He calmed down. The nurse affirmed what I just said, which made this very tired mama tear up.

I do not have as much scripture memorized as I should, but I had this verse in the front of my mind throughout the entire 13-hour ordeal. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

I do not claim to be as thankful as I should be. But that night, I found so many things to be thankful for. I prayed constantly, petitioning the Lord, and we had peace. And that peace completely transcended our understanding and our expectations. Thanks be to God our son is back to screaming when his cereal isn’t poured quickly enough (or better yet, he has learned to pour it himself this summer)!