“I’ll just pull over so he can get by.” I said to myself.
Hmmm. He’s pulling behind me.
He’s getting out of his car and approaching mine!
I unroll my window. Gazing upward at what surely was a seven-foot-tall police officer, I asked, “Uh, what’s the problem, officer?”
“Ma’am, you were going fifteen miles over the speed limit.”
To which I simply stated, “Well, I was going forty miles an hour. But the speed limit says, ‘thirty-five miles per hour’.” (Thinking that surely wasn’t too big of an infraction.)
“Yes Ma’am, that’s correct, but you were in a School Zone which reverts to twenty-five miles per hour during certain hours. Did you not see the blinking lights?”
I’m thinking, “Well, the answer to that’s kinda obvious, don’t cha think, buddy???” But of course I didn’t say that.
I’ve lived in Louisville, Kentucky since 1982. I’ve gone up and down Zorn Avenue a bazillion times. I’ve never looked at the sign by what I thought was a church, which I’ve now learned (the hard way) is indeed a school as well.
Never mind my dear friend Mary’s daughter works at St. Leonard’s! I always thought it was on Frankfort Avenue. Call me crazy.
So, back to the police officer. Just because I didn’t know it was a School Zone, didn’t get me out of the speeding ticket. Goodness.
When we called a friend of ours who’s a police officer to help us decipher what to do next, his reaction to the School-Zone-thing was a precursor to the next few weeks. “Oh,…speeding in a School Zone?” (Please read that in your lowest, deepest, darkest, doomsday voice…)
Seems School Zones are a huge no-no. And, rightly so. If your children were at a school and some crazy woman came blowing thru’, you wouldn’t be too happy with her.
Of course our boys got a huge hoot out of this predicament. “Wow, Mom-the-Speedster,” three-for-three of them said. They are forever making fun of my ten-and-two-on-the-steering-wheel extremely cautious driving skills.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and you’ll find my ever-patient-husband escorting me downtown to the courthouse. We stood in line for a petite eternity with people from all walks of life. (We won’t even travel down that road.)
I paid a grandiose fine and agreed to attend Traffic School. They stamped “GUILTY” on my receipt. Painful.
You may be amused to know we fellow citizens have a plethora of opportunities when it comes to attending Traffic School. You can take a session on-line, in the comfort of your own home. (One of our boys shared that info’ with us. Wonder how he knew that???) Or, you can choose a location to attend the class either at night or during the day.
Fast forward several more weeks and you’ll find yours truly seated among about forty other folks in Traffic School. The letter we received informed us to “Arrive fifteen minutes prior to class. Class will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. No person entering past 9:15 will be allowed entry into classroom. No drinks or food are to be brought in.” Can you say, “Barrel of fun?”
Never mind there was a terrible thunderstorm the morning of our class. Determined to be on time, I left and arrived at 8:45. Never mind our teacher arrived at 9:15. While she was setting up, a fellow student arrived at 9:30, so in my mind, I was ready to tell her, “No way, Jose.”
Who did I think I was? Since our teacher was so late, she didn’t notice this gal. Grace.
During class, one young man kept falling asleep. The teacher told him to go wash his face and stand up or she’d have to ask him to go home and come to another class. She later told us he’d worked a night shift. She kept giving him another chance. More grace.
But guess what? Forty out of forty of us in class were guilty. 100% Guilty. We were there to erase our guilt. Our penance was to attend a four-hour class which would wipe away those dreaded points on our licenses.
Can’t resist the opportunity of spiritual application from this experience as a good reminder for us all…
In God’s economy, He already paid the price. God already wiped away our guilt. His son, Jesus, thru’ His crucifixion, took our sins upon the cross. By His grace we are saved. No Traffic School, or any other method of “payment” upon our part, is required. By His grace we are set free.
Titus 3:4-5 reassures us: “When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”
My dear friend and mentor, Liz Curtis Higgs, has written a beautiful book on grace. Embrace Grace is a must-read. No one like Liz articulates grace any better.
She grabs us from the very first chapter:
“I’ve been waiting for you. Holding this good news close to my heart, longing to share it.
And now here you are, standing on the threshold.”
She mentions what she doesn’t know about us such as age, looks, occupation, etc. Then she adds icing on the cake:
“There are also things about you that I do know because we all share them:
The need to be loved unconditionally,
The desire to live a life that truly matters,
The longing to shed a tightly woven mantle of guilt.”
Liz continues, “A single syllable, grace, is God’s word for love, expressed through divine forgiveness.”
Mark 10:27 says, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
Liz concludes, “May our conversation serve as a field guide, tracing a well-worn footpath from doubt to belief, pointing us away from shame and toward hope.”
And if perhaps, you still think none of this applies to you, watch this:
Liz concludes Chapter One with, “Are you still alive, my sister? Still drawing breath? Then it’s not too late to serve the Lord you love. And never too late to find the assurance and comfort you seek.” Uh, that would cover pretty much every single one of us.
May you be Comforted,
that YOU, my friend,
are indeed Forgiven and Bathed in Grace by God himself.
For a beautiful visual of God’s all-encompassing grace, sit a spell and watch Your Grace Finds Me by Matt Redmon. (This YouTube version includes photographs to illustrate the lyrics. Bet you won’t be sitting for long. You’ll jump to your feet in praise and shed a tear or two. I do every time I’m blessed to hear this beautiful song…)
Meanwhile, please watch those speed limits….(wink)…
‘Til next time!