I signed up to be a chaperone for the high school theatre department’s trip to NYC with my daughter. The school district has a new policy wherein all potential chaperones must go through a background check. No problem… I thought…
A few weeks ago I got a call from the district office; there was a problem with the background check. It kicked back a bench warrant for me from 2002, for a ticket I had received for an expired tag on my car.
I called the courthouse and (once they found the info, in the old system, since this was from FOURTEEN YEARS AGO!) I was told to just come and show proof that my current vehicle was legally registered and they’d likely dismiss it. I might have to pay a fine. No problem. I’ll just go clear it up, pay what I had to… Simple… I thought…
I pulled up to the Wyandotte County Courthouse, found a place to park on the street and put enough on the meter for a little over two hours. I thought it would be more than enough and I’d be able to leave the meter with time on it ‘as a gift’ for the next person.
I got through security and asked where I might go to clear up a ticket from 14 years ago. The man at the desk got a little wide eyed then suggested I check at the records office down the hall. I explained the situation to the nice gal behind the window, gave her my drivers license, and sat down to wait while she looked it up.
An hour goes by. I started to think, maybe I would have to pay a fine after all. This wasn’t going as smoothly as I’d thought. Then an officer comes through the door and says, “Reynolds… so you have a bench warrant?”
“Yes, sir. Apparently I forgot all about the ticket. It was from 14 years ago. I just came in to take care of it when it was recently brought to my attention.”
That’s when he took out his handcuffs.
I asked if he was serious. I explained that this was for an expired tag… from 14 years ago… Wasn’t this a bit extreme? He was nice, but unmoved. “Gotta follow process, now that you’re here.”
I was taken down to holding in cuffs. There were mug shots, fingerprints, a thorough pat down, personal belongings placed in a bag in a locker. I was assigned an offender number. Later, I was later offered a bologna sandwich.
I explained, calmly and kindly, that I had a sick daughter at home and an autistic toddler that I really had to pick up this afternoon – that I couldn’t just send someone else. Thankfully they ‘rushed me through’ and I was finally released a little over three hours and $200 later. I have to go to court in a few weeks.
I got out just in time to steady my nerves and get ready for an important call. It’s for a long-term consulting gig that I really need and want. I had to take that call, so I sucked it up and made it happen. (It went well, though not my best, and I’ll hear in a week or so.)
I now had less than 2 hours to do 6 hours of work, so I dove in and after about 10 minutes my computer froze. Then the screen went to all orange and read “Windows encountered an error and needs to shut down.”
Then it went to black and “Boot disk error or no boot disk found”
The screen of death.
I put my head on my desk and just took a few deep breaths. “You have got to be kidding me.”
It was time to pick up Wil. I grabbed my keys and left. Once I got him home, I packed up the computer and got it to my tech guy to see what he can salvage. I’ll likely be the owner of a shiny new hard drive by tomorrow.
I went to a committee meeting at church. Then I stopped by the grocery store for a few things we needed. (And some gelato. Because, well, today…) Once I was home, my husband went to pick up our daughter while I did bed and bath time with our youngest.
Some days are like that. Hard.
Most days are hard.
But here’s the thing… When the officer handcuffed me and said I was being arrested, I started to get upset. Then I chose not too. Instead I thought how much I wish my dad was alive because I wanted to hear his laughter when I called to tell him about this. That thought, of my dad, made me smile.
I thought about getting upset when they explained that booking and such could take all day. Instead I took a breath, explained my situation of needing to get to kids, etc. (reminded them that this was an EXPIRED TAG from FOURTEEN YEARS AGO) and chose to remain kind and calm. They moved me through a little more quickly and I was out in half the time they originally told me.
I expected to have a ticket on my car. Though the meter was over an hour expired, no ticket. I chose to count that as a blessing.
My important call? She was running late so I got an extra 15 minutes to collect my thoughts. It went well. I chose to recognize and be thankful for that.
My crashed computer? Well, it can be fixed for far less than I expected. I keep very few files on the hard drive, but what is there, he can likely recover for me. I have a laptop I can use to get by until the PC comes back. I choose to see all these little blessings in an otherwise crappy situation.
Don’t get me wrong, today sucked. But I was able to make choices. And though next week I might choose to have the fall-aparts when life crashes in, today I chose to roll with it. I chose to actively see the small blessing sprinkled in. I chose to recognize that if the enemy is coming after me, then there is something about to happen that he wants to deter me from. Right now I am choosing to press on and make sure I don’t let him win. Something great is coming. If it wasn’t, he’d leave me alone.
Sometimes this life can feel like your doing time in a holding cell, stuck. Or you’re locked in a prison of frustration or fears. We always have a choice.
I can choose to freak out at the absurdity of getting arrested for a 14 year old non-moving violation, or embrace the fact that I have one hell of a story to tell. I can freak out when my computer crashes or be thankful for a good tech guy that can fix it. I can focus on the problems or embrace the promise.
Today I chose the later.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11