My recent brush with the Law


You know that sinking feeling you get when you look in your rear-view mirror and see a police car with lights flashing?  And you heard the siren before you saw it?  And then the next feeling is supposed to be relief because you pull to the side and the police car zooms on past?

Well, I got the first of those feelings without the second a couple of weeks ago, when I got my first speeding ticket in quite a few years.

No doubt I was guilty. 30 in a 20. I hadn’t noticed the change, thought I was keeping up with traffic; you know the drill.

So I pulled over, put the car in Park, put my hands on the steering wheel, and waited.

We had a fine conversation. I kept hoping that I might be let off with a warning. Might have, except it was in a school zone.  I guess I want no tolerance in a school zone. Maybe even more than I want a citation.

I can’t say I have been stopped a lot of times.  I also can’t say that I have always thought that stopping me and writing me a citation was really the best thing to do.  So, I rolled a stop sign, but there was NO ONE else on the road! Oh, yeah, except that parked police car down the street….

For all the times I’ve been stopped, maybe ten over the 35+ years I have been driving, I have always been treated well.

Judging from ONLY my own experience, I cannot make any sense of the challenges our society currently faces over policing.

On the other hand, there are too many stories, and too many incidents, for me to believe that there is not a problem.

But I am absolutely convinced of this: the problem is not the police, and the problem is not one particular race or class of people. The problem is us; the problem is in and with all of us, and until we can all admit that, I do not expect the problem will get any better.

And I don’t know anyone who wants things to keep going like they are. I don’t believe there is anyone who wants things to keep going like they are. But when, and how, are we going to get past the fear and hashtags that frame all of this?

Who is willing to stop vilifying the other, WHOEVER the “other” might be?

I am going to try. Wouldn’t you agree it is worth a try?

If it is worth a try, would you also agree that it has to start with ME trying, and YOU trying, not waiting around for THEM to try?

That’s from my recent brush with the Law. May your next brush with the law be at least as smooth as mine.


Is everyone like you?

One Sunday  morning a few months ago, I was asked by two different people within minutes of each other “where do we get the Lord’s Prayer from?”

My first thought, which I was thankful a filter caught, was, “Doesn’t  everyone  know that?”girl-looking-in-mirror

Obviously  not.

One of the fallacies we live is that we (too often) assume that because we know something, or think or believe something, everyone else does, too.

So, I answered the question, to the best of my off-the-cuff ability.  What ensued was some really good conversation.

This episode helped me remember that there are a lot of things floating around in my mind that aren’t floating the same way in everyone else’s mind.

And I assume the reverse is true: there are thinks floating around in your mind that I’ve never thought of or always wondered about.

Not only do we think different things, but I am quite sure we think some very similar things differently.  Since we’ve each had different experiences, even if we have reached the same conclusions, we have likely reached them by different paths.

So, here’s a thought: sometime, over the next couple of days, strike up a conversation with someone about something.  Choose a topic you know (and have thought) about quite a bit, or launch off of something the other person said about something.  Make it a goal of your conversation to welcome the other person to talk openly about how they understand something.

(You might avoid a touchy religious or political topic, as it seems we have trouble talking openly about these without generating heat.)

Are you a better listener or talker?

Do you find it challenging to say what you think in a way another person can hear and understand it?