“More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered prayers.”-Truman Capote

The route to my son’s school goes down a road with a now closed factory. The fence is lined with Bradford Pear trees that snow blossoms on my windshield in the spring, and lay a ruby carpet in the fall. The factory once made those relics of a bygone era, cassette tapes. (Children of the ’80s remove your caps for a moment of silence, and then be grateful that you will never again have to re-spool one with a ballpoint pen.)

One morning on the trip to school I saw a police officer lying in wait for the speeding unsuspecting, hidden beside the old guard shack at the entrance; no doubt hoping to nab one of the late to schoolers flying by. As luck would have it I was going the speed limit (or at least I was by the time I got even with him), and drove by without incident.

On the way back, I remembered that he was there and carefully maintained the correct speed as I approached that stretch of road. Behind me, a car began to follow very closely, the driver growing more and more agitated. I could almost see the veins bulging out on his forehead. He veered over slightly to assess his chances of passing me on the double yellow lines. My eye caught his in the rear view mirror and he threw up his hand in the universal gesture of frustration. I held up one finger (no, not that finger) and shook my head. He gave me a disgusted look and stayed on my bumper.

Just at that moment we came around a curve and there was Mr. Officer, parked beside the guard shack. We passed him uneventfully, and parted ways at the traffic light, him to go left, me to continue on straight. As he passed me, he gave me a wave and a sheepish grin, realizing that I’d probably saved him from getting a ticket. I gave him a smile and a thumbs up.

And it got me to thinking, how many times I am impatient, riding life’s bumper, looking for a way to pass any frustration on the double yellow lines. Heaving sighs of frustration as I look for a shortcut to get where I’ve decided I need to go.

And all the time, it’s God in the car ahead of me, fully aware of the danger ahead that I don’t yet see. Not trying to slow me down, trying to spare me avoidable pain and suffering.

Sometimes, when I get past the guard shack and see what I was spared, I flash my maker a wave and a sheepish grin. I go my way and vow to remember it next time. And sometimes, I’m so full of self will and pride, or plain old spiritual blindness, that I just won’t be spared. I blow past the warnings and right into the speed trap. And when I do, He patiently walks with me to pay my ticket, and I vow to remember it and never try to pass Him on the double yellow lines again. With mixed success.

And either way, He gives me a smile and a thumbs up.

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