Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pleading for Mercy

Well, going out for lunch in the middle of the dog agility trial turned out to be a very expensive ordeal. I was driving along, obeying the speed limit like I always do, when I noticed police lights flashing in my rearview mirror.
"I'm not speeding , am I?" I asked Asherel, as I pulled over. The policeman came to my window and told me that I was being pulled over because of an expired inspection.

I did not say what I wanted to say, which would've been, "With all the murderers, speeders, reckless drivers out there, and you pull me over for an expired inspection? You have got to be kidding."

He wasn't kidding. He told me I have to appear in court in October or pay a $250 fine. He says if I appear in court with my renewed inspection, the fine will be waived. Since the dog trial is taking place an hour from my house, and is where I got the ticket, I will have to drive two hours to appear in court, an hour there and an hour back.

Or, I could just not appear and write it off as a very expensive lunch, $262 worth of lunch. Before the ticket, lunch had only been $12. The inspection was two weeks overdue. And since they no longer put inspection tags on the windshield , I never know when the inspection is due. However, with the new young driver sitting next to me, I was polite and pleasant to the young policeman. Not two minutes after we pulled away from him, we saw his light on again and he was pulling someone else over. Probably another mother in a minivan recklessly endangering lives by having inspection two weeks overdue.

I guess the city of Concord is hard up for money, and this is one way to get it.

Meanwhile, back at the agility dog show, Honeybun had a very nice first run, although she didn't qualify or win any ribbons. She got her weaves on the second try and they were quite beautiful. Best of all she looked happy and fast and both she and Asherel seemed to be having fun. I sure hope it was $262 worth of fun. And then, her second run of the day, while I fumed about the ticket, was magical. She was fast and she was perfect. She got her weaves the first time, she hit every jump, she beat the course time, and she got a perfect score. She has never had a perfect score. She not only Q'ed, but got second place! Asherel was wonderful, calm and confident and did a great job, the best I've seen her.

Life is always full of mixed blessings. There is always good, and there is always bad. Finding the message in all circumstances is one of my greatest joys in life. I wonder what God was trying to tell me with these episodes. The policeman was doing his job, but I really think he'd erred on the side of strict adherence to the letter of the law without mercy in the spirit of the law. I started thinking about how as a parent sometimes I tend to err in that direction as well.

As I watched my beautiful daughter who has so much talent and joy and delight in animals and in so many things, I thought about how frequently I am Just , but not Merciful. All in all, she is such a wonderful gift of God but sometimes I am so consumed with showing the righteous path, that I forget to enjoy the path she and I struggle along together, and to let the little things slide. The policeman was Just, but he was not Merciful. I did not much like the policeman.
"Lord may you guide me in trying to always be both," I prayed to myself.

As we drove home, I said, "You know Asherel, I was surprised at how well Honeybun did without too much practice this summer...and no classes. Would you want to consider continuing to do the Agility trials, and just take a break from classes? Maybe just try to practice a couple times a week? I know you have a lot on your plate."
"I would like that," she said.
And I smiled happily because I think I understood a little of what God was showing me.

Job 9:15 (NIV)
Though I were innocent, I could not answer him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy.

save a dog-

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