I pulled over to the curb to let the speeding police car go by as I was on my way to the dog park with my yellow lab Ben. But instead of whizzing on by, the flashing lights pulled up behind me. Truly puzzled I asked the officer, “What’s the problem?” He told me my license plates are expired. I told him that can’t be because I always take care of that kind of thing as soon as I get the notice. To which he responded sarcastically, “I wouldn’t be pulling you over if I hadn’t verified with Madison that your plates are indeed expired.”
As I waited in the car for the officer to return with my citation I remembered a note I wrote to myself after a previous unpleasant experience. My note said, “Getting upset is so unproductive.” I don’t always remember that wise conclusion, but bumping into the law the other day actually became a blessing for it caused me to pause and reflect on the fact that I have been too narrowly focused of late. Loosing my vehicle registration form in a mess of papers was the proof along with other things I have let slide.
Lately I have been bent on finishing David Sloan Wilson’s book “The Neighborhood Project – Using Evolution to Improve My City One Block at a Time.” After I found my registration form and wrote the check, I picked up the phone and called the library to extend the due date on Wilson’s book. It was so easy to do and relieved me of much unnecessary stress. It makes me wonder how much else I could let go of, or extend till a later date. Ironically the siren and flashing lights verified what I am reading. Life is a pinball machine and how I react to what I bump into determines my progress or decline. The ability to reflect on my experiences is the vital spark that transforms, and being flexible in how I respond determines my success or failure. And ultimately I see I am still in process—learning to trust more and remembering that all good things can and do take time.
Thank God for Ben for he always makes sure I get out EVERYDAY. Which reminds me we are way overdue for a good long off leash trek somewhere.
What if we could always stop and reflect when bumping into unpleasantness?