It was Christmas Eve morning, and I was en route from morning Mass to Starbucks, where I like to do the crossword online followed by a few hours’ writing.
This year someone has seen fit to hate me this so I’ve been praying a 54 day Novena for her: Christmas Eve was the day 54 and I was praying the Rosary while I drove.
Suddenly lights flashed behind me.
Things are different in my native England, where the police overtake you and pull in front of your car, so there’s no doubt whom they’re after. I took a while to register that I was the culprit.
The officer came up to my window and announced that I’d been driving 20 mph over the limit. It is many years since I’ve seen fit to speed like that, and I asked him if he was sure?
“Yes,” he replied, “you were overtaking other cars, which should have been an indication of your speed.”
There were perhaps only three other cars on the road at the time of my alleged misdemeanor and I wasn’t sure how overtaking them proved my guilt or my exact mph.
For good measure, I announced, “I was praying the Rosary, so I guess I must have misjudged how fast I was going.” I pointed at the beads lying across the central console. Perhaps this policeman was a Christian….
Then I handed over my documentation.
Pause for Background Check
It's important to point out a minor miracle here: a few short weeks ago I happened to look for my vehicle registration in the glove compartment. I couldn’t find it and had just got a replacement. Thank you, God for prompting me to discover it was missing!!
Thus I luckily had the right paperwork to give the officer.
A Spiritual Chat
While he was checking it out, I had a serious discussion with Our Lady.
‘Why, when I’ve just been to Mass and am in the middle of praying to you, would you let me get stopped for driving at well above the speed I was actually traveling at?
‘Why, when I’m praying for the person who loathes me and is attempting to sabotage my life, would you let this happen to me? And on Christmas Eve!!
‘Thank you, Our Lady!’ I huffed.
I resolved two things: one, I would try and reason with the officer, because I absolutely knew I wasn’t driving that fast; two, if I couldn’t change his mind, I would politely accept the ticket in atonement for (fill in my latest transgression – besides speeding, I meanJ) as God’s will.
The officer returned and said: “I’m going to let you off with a warning.”
Completely taken aback, I asked, “Are you sure?”
The 'Take Away'
There are several versions of why he let me off, depending on whether you’re one of my menfolk (it's because you’re a girl! – at 57 years of age, really?!) or he realized he was mistaken about the heinousness of my crime and didn’t want to ruin my Christmas by even ticketing me for my actual mph over the limit.
But we all know the real reason is neither of the above.
Thank you, Our Lady!