It's as though I need to validate that time in my life. The investment that I made in living a life that seems so far in the past now.
I don't remember details about that date in 2009, but I vividly remember the events that occurred on that date the year previous! I'm fairly certain I'll remember June 4th 2008 for many years to come.
From my journal...
My day was packed. I had run some errands, stopped home and headed out again for an appointment before I’d head back home to start dinner. The location was only 7 minutes from home. I was running just a little late and remember thinking that it was especially busy near the school. I had the music up loud and I was enjoying a day to myself.
Then I saw the lights. They twinkled red and blue in my rear view mirror. I was already headed into the turn lane and the car with the lights followed me. Shoot. Did I run a stop sign? Had I been speeding? I didn’t even know. It didn’t recall doing either. I pulled over, rolled down my window and started digging for my license.
“Do you know why I pulled you over, mam?”
“I don’t know officer.” I said.
“You were speeding. Do you know how fast you were going?”
“I wasn’t paying attention officer, I really don’t know.”
“You were going 41…” I stared at him blankly. The limit in the area is 35 mph. It struck me as odd that he’d pull me over for 6 miles over the limit, but he must have had time on his hands.
“…in a School Zone. The speed limit drops to 20 in a school zone when the crossing guards are present.”
Oh. “Of course.” I’m sure he thought I was an idiot.
“Your license and proof of insurance, please.” I handed over my license and
began digging through the glove compartment for the insurance certificate.
I pulled out about 10 of them-none with the proper dates.
“Well,” I said, “I have insurance. I’m just not-“
“Look,” Mr. Officer interrupted. “Is the car paid for?”
Why would he ask me that? I thought for a split second about the life insurance money that paid for the car. While it’s true that I did finance some of the cost, it was only to build some credit in my own name. For about the last 6 or 7 years everything had been in my husband's name.
“What?” I asked. Now he knew I was an idiot.
“Is the car paid for?” He asked for the second time with some exasperation.
I gave him a blank look - again. “Yes.”
It was at this point that I began to think about the fact that I had lived most of the day without remembering just what day it was. “That’s right,” I thought, “it would be 14 years today.” Perfect.
It would have been my 14th wedding anniversary. It was a day that marked a coming month of days that had been emotionally draining during each of the last three years. I don’t know how I had forgotten for most of the day. My husband had taken his life 3 ½ years ago. Our marriage was a difficult one. Throughout the month of June would come the anniversary, then Father’s Day, then his birthday. This year wasn’t as gray as previous years have been and because of that I’d been moving through the week hopeful that this year would be different. I remember praying that this year would mark my new life in a special way. I had no idea what I was asking for. We never do.
Mr. Officer returned. “Here’s your citation...”
“I am sorry.” I interrupted. “I’m not usually so distracted. I am a good driver.” I don’t know what compelled me to say that!
“Yes, I know.” He said. “I have to give you a citation. School Zones are serious business.”
“Of course.” I didn’t bother trying to explain that I wasn’t trying to get out of the ticket. He explained about how to pay it and off he went.
Now, I sat with the ticket in my hand, remembering the last time I received a ticket. A split second of remembering, but a lot was packed into it.
I had sobbed. I was as close to hysterical as I’ve ever been. The officer asked me if I’d be o.k. to drive home. A friend was in the car with me and I remember the officer charging her with making sure I calmed down before I started to drive again.
All because I was terrified of what my husband would say or do. He would rant and rave and crush me verbally-that was a given. Never mind that I was in the car with him on two different occasions when he received a ticket. He’d carry on and on about how I wasted the money as though I did it on purpose as a personal affront to him. It didn't matter that I worked a full-time job too. He might throw things-sometimes he did. (He never seemed to realize how wasteful that was!) He might freeze me out for a few hours or a few days, punishing me with silence. I would never be forgiven and it would come back on me later as justification for denying some future endeavor I wanted to pursue. On some very rare occasions he would surprise me and there would be almost no response.
But he was gone.
After that sober acknowledgement, I glanced into the rearview mirror and noticed the officer was getting into his car.
Then I caught my reflection in the mirror. I was smiling. I had asked for this!
I felt that smile grow as I placed the ticket in my purse and started my car.
As I headed out to complete my last errand, laughter bubbled out in that sobby, breathy way it will when you’re overcome with the supremely divine joy of the Spirit dancing with you. I wasn’t anxious. I knew I could pay the ticket and that would be the end of it. God is my husband and provider. He knows it was a mistake and I’ll be more careful. He knows that I’ve submitted the stewardship of His provision to Him. No anxiety, no fear about the repercussions. The day was marked in a special way alright!
I made it to my appointment right on time.