I got a ticket yesterday. It’s the first one I’ve had since I went flying down the freeway 15 years ago in one of the most powerful cars around back then…yes, I had a Honda CRX. 78 mph, by the way. But that’s not the point.

I was pulled over for running a red light (arrow) turning left to pick the boys up after work. It was dark, I was thinking, and I was late. You know how the person in front of you thinks he can make it so you think you can too? Evidently the policeman immediately behind me didn’t think I should have tried, and halfway through the turn I saw red, white and blue flashing lights. Ugh…

Three things, no wait, four things came of it.

  1. I was even more late picking up the boys.
  2. I now owe someone some money.
  3. I had an interesting conversation with a young (and newly married) policeman about being married and why he wasn’t “dumb” for getting married as he initially expressed to me. (Does anyone else think it’s funny/odd that he started a conversation with me about being married?) And,
  4. I was reminded that I need to be intentional about everything I do.

Intentional is a really great word. It means I need to have a purpose in mind for everything I do in life. A goal. A mission. I need to know beforehand that I will not run a red light. Doing so is impulsive and plays to my more aggressive side…the competitive one inside me. He’s not so bad sometimes, but he tends to be the one who gets in trouble.

God is showing me that there are a lot of things I’ve allowed to begin to control my life. I can blame the life of a single parent with full-time custody of two amazingly beautiful/horribly crazy boys, but that’s a joke. According to the Bible, God knew how my every day would turn out before I was formed in the womb. And He says I should worry about nothing, but instead seek His kingdom and righteousness, for there is where He will provide all I need to get through the storms of life.

I can feel trapped in a routine that feels as if it will never change or improve, but then I would miss out on opportunities like the one I had tonight to let the boys go off by themselves and play an arcade game for a few minutes while I ate dinner. I would miss seeing them grow into the extraordinary men they are certain to become. And why? Because it’s hard? Thomas Jefferson lost three of his children and his wife, yet still helped form the government on which America stands today. Abraham Lincoln lost his mom when he was eleven, slept on dirt for all of his early years, and lost nearly every election in which he ran, yet he turned out to be the best president this country has seen. I guess the point is that many more people have lived and are living through tougher circumstances than we do, and all of them reached higher than themselves and accomplished great and amazing things. I think it’s partly because they intended to. They never gave up.

Neither should we.

Life can be difficult, that’s true. But we live on the good side…the side where God says be strong and courageous, for I am with you wherever you go. The side where God says anything is possible with His help. The side that never loses hope. That’s a good side. I’m on that side. Thank God, I’m on that side. : )

So yeah, I did it. I ran the light. And I do believe in accountability. I may end up paying a fine, but I may also stand before someone (is it a judge I will see?), admit to it and place myself at the mercy of the court…you never know what God will do, right?

I’ll keep you posted. Until then, I’m back.

From his career in professional baseball to an attempt at professional golf and the tragic loss of his wife, Jon Graves is on the journey of his life.