So today, I was cruising down the empty tollway when I saw those dreaded flashing lights behind me in my rear view mirror. In the old days, when that happened to me, I could feel my heart drop into my stomach. I would get completely freaked out, but because I was a single mom with 4 children and no money. So, back then, a traffic ticket was like one of my worst nightmares. That meant that we were going to have to make do with less – again, and it was all my fault.
But today, I saw the lights in my rear view mirror and I just pulled over. No sinking feeling. This time, I wasn’t upset, crying, and freaking out. So at least that was good. This time, I felt bad in a different kind of way. This time I wasn’t afraid about the money; I wasn’t afraid of getting yelled at by a husband. I was just disappointed in myself. I didn’t need to be going so fast. There was no emergency. In fact, I didn’t even know my car could go that fast (92 mph in a 65) (without me at least noticing it). I tell you, I was stunned when the officer told me that he clocked me at 92!! But I believed him – no question.
I got my license and proof of insurance out and ready to hand to the officer. He came up to my window, and of course he asked the usual question, “Ma’m, do you know why I pulled you over?” I said, “No, was it speeding?” He said, “Yes ma’m. I clocked you at 92. The speed limit right here is 65.” I said, “Oh my gosh! I can’t believe it! I’m so stunned right now!” I said, “Where were you?? I didn’t even see you!” He politely told me. Then I said, “You know what? I’m actually glad you stopped me. I am. I seriously needed to know that I was driving so fast. I’m in shock that I didn’t realize my speed.”
Then all of a sudden he said, “You know what? I’m going to change the speed to 82. That way you can take defensive driving if you choose to do so.” I just put my hands together and said, “THANK YOU SO MUCH!! Thank You God!” I could hear my brain thinking, “YOU ARE THANKING A COP FOR GIVING YOU A TICKET??? HAVE YOU COMPLETELY LOST YOUR MIND???” I was so grateful though because I fully deserved that ticket. And I told him that I completely understood.
By this point, I felt like we were old friends. And, as I would say to a friend, I said, “You know, I haven’t been thinking clearly for a while.” Then I teared up. (I was trying not to but was just overcome by my emotions.) I went on to say, “I lost my son in that hotel fire last year. He was one of the 4 firefighters who died. I’m actually on my way to therapy right now. I still go 4 times a week to try and heal from the loss.” Then I felt “the ugly cry” coming on. As much as I tried to hold back the tears, there was no stopping them at this point.
He looked at me and said, “Your son was a firefighter?” I said, “Yeeeesss, he was one of the fallen four.” He looked me right in the face and said, “I’m dismissing the ticket. Thank you so much for your son’s service, really, thank you so much. I’m so sorry for your loss ok? I’m sorry, really sorry for your loss.” He shook my hand and said, “You have a good day ok m’am? I’m so sorry for your loss.” I said, “Thank you so much, you have a good day toooooo.”
I can’t even put into words how good it felt to hear ‘those words; and that is why I cried. He drove off and I sat in my car on the side of the road, and just bawled for what seemed like forever. The tears didn’t seem to want to stop no matter how hard I tried to stop them. They just kept coming.
I realized that the tears weren’t even about the speeding ticket. The tears came because, when Bobby died, I didn’t get the usual condolences that a mother normally would get at a funeral and memorial. They mostly all went to my 3 daughters (my oldest in particular). It was like Bobby didn’t even have a mom, (and at least the higher ranking people involved knew who I was). There was not even a mention of his mom.
It’s still a mystery to me why this happened. I don’t know why all of this occurred, and I’m no longer trying to figure out why. I have learned that it just ‘is what it is’. (I’m not saying this for pity, and certainly not to put down the Fire Department – not at all.) I SO love and appreciate every single member of the Fire Department, whether I know them or not. And I especially appreciate the ones who did reach out to me, who were extremely kind to me, and who are still kind to me to this day.)
I’m saying all of this to show you in a minute just how good God is to us.
[Side note: Anytime you see a fireman, you should stop them and thank them for putting their lives on the line every single day for us, as well as police officers, and members of the military.]
Just last night, (after having another grief meltdown at home for what seemed to be for no particular reason at the time), I told my husband how sad I felt about us having 3 surviving adult children, who (to this day) have never even said to me, “Mom, I’m sorry that you lost Bobby.” And I was telling him that I was sad also that I never got condolences from the many of the officials at the Fire Department. I feel like those condolences are such a large part of a persons healing after losing a loved one; I really do. So just last night, guess I was still having a need to hear comforting condolences from someone in a position such as this officer today.
All of that to say this. I know that God doesn’t send bad things to us, or punish us, or put sickness on us, or or anything like that. And He certainly isn’t the blame for a speeding ticket.
What I DO know, is that sometimes God will allow situations like today to happen for a reason. And the reason is usually to teach us something that we could not have learned any other way, or maybe so that we could be a blessing to someone else down the road with what we have learned, or to give us a gift.
Today I got a “God gift” in the form of a sincere and heartfelt condolence, that I was so desperately needing to hear.
Thank you Jesus for loving me so much. I am in awe of Your goodness to me.