My conviction arrived in a dirty, white envelope last Thursday. I hesitantly opened it and saw four images of my little white car speeding through a red light. I promise it was yellow when I went through, but the images proved otherwise.
It happened Easter Sunday, of all days, and I was driving back to Abilene after a relaxing weekend of America’s Next Top Model, Iron Chef and What Not to Wear marathons. It’s really the road’s fault. The speed limit is 65, but there are red lights every half-mile, so once you get up to speed, you’re at a light. It’s silly, really, but I usually make all the green lights or fly through the yellow ones. Usually.
I saw the light ahead turn from green to yellow. “I can make it,” I said to myself, then realized I was a bit farther from the intersection than I thought, and the yellow light might change before I got there. So I had a dilemma: Do I come to a screaming halt and essentially destroy my tires or risk running the nearly expired yellow light?
So, I ran a red light, and they caught me on camera. Will a city official deliver the ticket to my house and take me to jail until it’s paid? Who will bail me out? Will my fiancé marry a criminal, let alone love one?
I called my mom, told her I was going to jail, and she assured me I was overreacting and I needed to chill. I still had a three-hour drive ahead of me and figured I should preserve any freedoms I had, so I hung up the cell phone, put my hands in the “10 and 2” position and drove on.
A week passed, and no one came to collect me. Then Thursday rolled around, and there was the letter. It read: “This is not a citation. This is a warning.” I’d been given a second chance, and I’ve promised myself I won’t let my worrying drive me into a hole anymore.
I worry too much. I was more likely to get in a wreck after the red-light incident than by barely running the light in the first place. But all of us worry too much, don’t we? How much more energy would we have if we didn’t waste it all on worry? With three weeks left, try not to panic about what might happen in the near, uncertain future. Maybe you’ll finish with a little more of a bang.