Thursday, June 1, 2017

I Have A Parole Officer

You probably know this -  life isn't fair.

Well, I got a traffic ticket for going through a yellow light... really! A yellow light. A possible $150 fine and 2 points.

When I saw the police car lights twirling behind me I'm thinking, "He must be after that blue car." Except the blue car kept going and it became obvious that it was ME he was pulling over.

OH MY GOSH! I haven't had a ticket in over thirty years. My tail light must be out.

Dead serious, like I robbed a bank serious, the officer comes to my window and asks for my license. He was a little scary. I asked permission to go into my purse to get my license and insurance.

"I'm sorry... but what did I do?"

"You went through the yellow light." He said.

I answered, "And.......?"

"Haven't you been watching the news? We're giving out citations for yellow lights. It's been all over the news."

A hot flush of anger hit me in seconds. I said, "Really? REALLY! You're giving me a ticket because I went through a yellow light? REALLY!" I was seething mad and it took a ton of will-power not to say anymore. AND I had a lot I wanted to say especially when he proceeded to lecture me.

Fifteen minutes later I was sitting with my husband Todd over lunch with a traffic ticket in my hands. I was so offended. Poor Todd, he patiently listened to my story over and over again until I wore myself out talking.

"NO, I'm not going to pay it. I'm fighting this bugger."

By early afternoon, I had called my attorney and emailed him a copy of the ticket.

Now, I'm telling you this story for a reason. Not just to sound off.

Like me, you may have found a time when you were offended or you were criticized or penalized for something you did or did not do.  It happens - in our personal lives and in business.

When it does, you have some choices to make. Do you confront the person? Do you argue your case? Do you tell them what-for? Do you silently seek revenge?

In my case, I went to court to fight the ticket. The officer's vehicle camera showed that the back end of my vehicle was barely in the intersection when the light turned red. His Sargent was in the car at the time and I understand that he ordered the officer to pull me over and give me a citation. Which meant that there were two, not just one, but two eye witnesses to overcome in court.

My choices were... continue to fight the traffic ticket and come back to court in about a month or agree to "no contest", pay the fine plus court costs and go to a six hour Defensive Driving Class in order to get the points on my record dropped. I decided on the later.

Here's the reason. This whole business was stealing my joy. Yes, I feel that I could have won the case. I even thought about calling the local news station and making a big deal out of the unfairness of it all. The anger about the whole ordeal was waking me up at night.

As I stood by the jury box waiting to step in front of the judge, I silently asked God to help me with the ridiculous anger. I reminded myself that life is too big to be little. And this was a little thing.

I said, "Beth, get over yourself. You're too blessed to let this steal your joy. Take the penalty and get on with what's wonderful in your life."

I pleaded no contest. I have to report to my parole officer when I've completed my defensive driving class. I will pay a fine, some court costs and fifty dollars for the driving class.

But I'm good now. In fact, I think it's kind of funny. As soon as I "gave it up", my joy came back.

We have choices to make every day. Some days are worse than others. However in the end, we can choose to fight for joy by not fighting. Save your energy for the big battles. Don't let little things steal your joy. It's not worth it.

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