Monday, January 10, 2011

January 10, 2011 ~ Day 32
Action: Reaction

When the police officer pulled me over today for talking on my cell phone while driving (without a hands-free device) my primal response was to throw the cell phone into the back seat of the car. It landed about a foot away from my daughter's carseat, and she started pointing at the phone and saying "Mama! Mama! Ownnnn, Ownnn!" Ha!

The officer, who was a lady, tried hard to keep a straight face as she asked me, "Did you honestly think I would believe you weren't talking on the phone when I just saw you with my own eyes?"

She sounded so much like me, talking to my children, that I grinned as I shook my head and said, "I'm sorry. I panicked."

"Just tell the truth," she advised, "And everything will be fine."

If that isn't laugh-out-loud funny, I don't know what is. Long story short, she was pretty laid back and friendly about the whole thing once she figured out that I was simply an irresponsible soccer mom and not a menace either to society or my daughter - who was thankfully safely buckled into her car seat and singing away.

On the way home I explained to my daughter that mommy got a time-out from the officer for doing something naughty.

The worst part, beyond the money and time that will be spent on traffic school, was having to tell my husband about my citation. I am very lucky that he laughed at me and reminded me that he's had a moving violation of his own recently. Still, I feel pretty silly about the whole thing.

It reminded me again of that story about The Farmer's Luck though, and how you never know what is good luck and what is bad luck since they're so closely linked. I had the feeling that maybe the officer had saved my daughter and I from an accident on the freeway, which we were just about to enter when I got pulled over. Who knows, maybe I would have been blathering away on the telephone and gotten side swiped by a big rig. Anything is possible.

As you may imagine I drove very slowly and carefully home, making sure to stop for a full three seconds at every single stop sign. This gave me a lot of extra time to think and I spent much of it pondering how each choice we make in life affects the outcome of everything. Even the choices that seem very small.

I couldn't help but think that if my husband hadn't found and plugged in my cell phone yesterday while cleaning out the car, it wouldn't have caught my eye as I went out the front door today... I wouldn't have put it into my purse, and then when I got the urge to call my mother while driving the car, I wouldn't have been able to do it until I got home. Would this have prevented the ticket?

Yet, what if the ticket was inevitable? What if I was destined to get pulled over today no matter what... and the fact that my husband DID clean out the car prevented the officer from thinking I was a suspicious character or unfit mother when she pulled me over?

It really sets your head spinning to think about how for every single action there is a reaction... every decision I have ever made in my life has brought me to where I am at this exact moment and sometimes even the decisions of other people hugely influence my own fate. In the same vein, I guess that every decision I make - large or small - has the potential to impact everyone I encounter in my life as well.

A little girl in Arizona won a school election last week and was elected to the Student Council. Christina Taylor-Green was just nine years old. Two days ago, still aglow with her election victory, she agreed to attend a grocery store "meet and greet" to say hello to her local Congresswoman. As two recently elected female representatives, they had something in common!

As it turned out, a deranged gunman happened to be attending that same event with a fully loaded automatic weapon.

Tragically, 9 year old Christina was in the wrong place at the wrong time and she was shot and killed along with many others at that Arizona grocery store. Which makes me think about the week leading up to her student body victory. What if she had lost that election? What if she had never decided to run for student council at all? Would she still have attended the meet and greet at the grocery store? Would she be alive today? What if she had decided to sleep in or play with a friend that morning instead?

This kind of thinking makes my head spin. They say hindsight is 20:20 but I guess that only works if you are still alive at the end of the day.

When I look for the meaning of life in all of this, the main message transmitted into my brain is

Action: Reaction

Our actions matter, and every single thing we do in life has consequences - many of which are positive. I guess what I take away with me from all of these events is that it is important to be both thoughtful and intuitive about the way we go about life on a daily basis. You can't live in fear that you'll make a wrong choice, but it is still important to be conscious that even small choices like talking on a cell phone can make a large impact in the big picture.

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