I stay in trouble.
Honestly. Even when I try to be good. Even when I’m perfectly innocent, I find myself in trouble.
Several weeks ago, I was driving my dad to his doctor’s appointment when his blood sugar dropped. I was being very careful to drive within the speed limit, while still trying to hurry. I guess I was distracted and didn’t notice the speed limit sign change from 70 to 55.
Which is why I was surprised when red and blue lights flashed in my rearview mirror. I pulled over and the officer asked, “Ma’am, is there some type of emergency?”
“Well actually, officer, there is.” I explained the situation to him. He leaned down, looked at my dad, then proceeded to write me a ticket for going 69 miles per hour. Now, all sorts of mean thoughts ran through my head, but I didn’t say them out loud. I was very nice, because I am nice. That officer, on the other hand, was not nice.
But, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. We were on a busy highway with lots of traffic. Maybe he couldn’t hear me.
When I got home that day, I called the number on the ticket and very nicely explained to the lady that no, I would not be taking defensive driving. I wanted to enter a “not guilty” plea. My court date was set for the 16th, in Williamson County.
You can imagine my surprise when a few days later, I got a notice to appear in court on the same day in Coryell County. It seems my garage door had popped open and my dog wandered down the street. The dogcatcher returned him. But we still got a ticket.
Yes, I can see why I had to appear in court rather than just paying the fine. Our poor, old, blind Lhasa Apso poses a real threat to society. Much more than the drug dealers and gang members in our town. I’m glad to see my tax dollars are going toward keeping our citizens safe from ten-pound sightless pooches. I feel better. Really, I do.
Besides, why was my name on the ticket? My dog’s name is Shamgar. His name was right there on his tag.
So here I am, wanted in two counties.
On the morning of the 16th, I got up early and drove to the Williamson County Courthouse, with a letter from my father’s oncologist stating that he is in fragile health, and that often, he needs to be transported quickly to the doctor’s office or emergency room.
The case was dismissed.
I got back in my car and drove to doggie court in Coryell County. I asked if my dog could perform community service. He’s really good at fertilizing the city park.
They said no.
I asked if he could serve his time in doggie jail for a week. Preferably the week my family goes on vacation.
So, I paid the $84 fine and reminded myself that I love my dog. I had to remind myself a few times.
I guess that’s just life, isn’t it? Sometimes we land ourselves in trouble of our own making. Other times, we find ourselves in messes we had nothing to do with. But even when that happens, we have a Friend who will stand by us and help us. Sometimes, He’ll get us out of the mess completely, like with my traffic ticket. Other times, we just have to grit our teeth and get through it the best way we can. But at least we know that no matter what comes, we don’t have to face our troubles alone.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.