A dime story

Melissa O’Brien

The backstory is rich and complicated, but suffice it to say this: Matt Dibley died two years ago in July. Not long after, people started finding dimes, as can be the case when someone dies and the living are more tuned in to spiritual activity. Sometimes the dead leave feathers, sometimes they present as a bird or a butterfly.

I have no proof of these things, of course, though I speak as an authority. I trust. It’s enough. If you start looking at the world more slowly, more carefully, with the open heart of a person who believes there is more to this life than you can see with your eyes, you will find dimes and feathers, too.

The dimes started showing up in my life, though I had not known Matt and had only connected with his Mamma Bear after his death. Life is very funny and terrific that way: Not only can the disembodied dead move three-dimensional objects, they also help us connect with people we need to know.

Coco started finding dimes, too. We found them in the car, on the floor, in the bed, on the kitchen counter. Not in groupings of change but in ways that made us ask, “What is that dime doing there?” So clever, the dead.

Last week, before we started our Faith on Foot walk in Rutland, during which we spend a couple of hours walking all over the city dispensing basic supplies and kindness, one of the pastors shared that she was feeling not great, that she had a sense that something was going to happen that day, that we needed to really be cautious — the world had an unwelcoming feeling for her; she had that gut thing going on. The weather was wet and heavy, and there did seem to be a kind of pall over the city. So we walked carefully, took our time. When we got to the really bad area near the bridge we went slowly, found some evidence we needed to report, stepped with caution. There was debris everywhere. Use your imagination and conjure up a place where people with no room of their own sleep, do drugs, leave trash. It was that.

We walked on after talking with one of the city cops about finding discarded needles, about gang activity, and a few feet down the hill I looked down and saw a dime, smack in the middle of the pathway.

“This is a good omen,” I said, “I have a guardian angel who sends me dimes to let me know he’s near.”

I picked up the dime and walked on, feeling pretty confident that other pastors wouldn’t think I was nuts. I mean I am nuts, but I’d like to think in a good way and usually God-people get this stuff; I was in good company.

We finished our walk, felt grateful, parted company. Nothing bad had happened.

The next morning I got a text from my friend with the bad feeling: “My partner and his son were in a five car pile-up last night. They’re OK, the truck is totaled. I wanted you to know that when we stopped at McDonald’s on the way to the hospital, I found a dime in the bathroom.”