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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Police (10/12/06)

TITLE: Lessons Learned
By Pamela Kurbat


I looked in the rearview mirror just in time to see the red and blue flashing lights atop the patrol car that was directly behind me. “Oh no” I screamed inside, “This can’t be happening!” I’d been drinking earlier in the night, and though I drank water for the rest of the evening in an attempt to sober up, I still felt effects from the alcohol when I got into my car to drive home. I stopped and the police car stopped behind me. Panic ensued when the spotlight shone, and I heard the officer call for backup as he walked toward my car. Questions raced through my mind. “Why is this happening? What did I do wrong? Did he follow me from the bar? Did I stumble as I got into my car? Did I swerve in traffic?” When he reached my door, the police officer asked for my license and registration, and then he asked me to get out of the car and walk to the back. “Oh, this doesn’t look good, but it may not be as bad as I think.” I thought hopefully, though I couldn’t help but wonder if he could tell I’d been drinking. When I met him at the back of my car I found out why he’d stopped me. Sometime during the evening my license plate was stolen, and replaced with one from a stolen vehicle. He thought I was driving a stolen car! For all he knew, I was armed and dangerous which explained the spotlight and the call for backup. It was quickly determined that I owned my car, and I was relieved that the problem was resolved so simply. My relief was short lived however. Whether he smelled alcohol on my breath, or whether my eyes gave me away, I’ll never know. “Have you been drinking?” the officer asked. Before I could reply he told me it was obvious that I had. I answered honestly that I’d had a few drinks earlier in the evening, but not since then. He conducted a field sobriety test, which I passed with flying colors. He told me I was okay and that I could go ahead and drive home. He cautioned me to drive safely as he walked away.
I’ve told this story many times since then, and each time I’ve put the police officer in a bad light. “He was hounding me”…”He was being unfair”…”He wanted to find a reason to give me a ticket or make an arrest so that he could fill a quota”…you get the picture. Many years have passed, and I have since come to Christ. Even so, I found myself telling this story to a friend recently, and without thinking about it I put the “bad cop” spin on the story. My friend did not sympathize with me though. She simply asked, “Isn’t it possible that he questioned you because he could tell you’d been drinking?” The fact is, I HAD been drinking. I may have spent most of the evening drinking water, but I’d had alcohol early in the evening, and I didn’t feel completely sober—even during the police exchange. Yes, he found me to be safe to drive, but he had good reason to question the situation, and he had an obligation to make sure I was safe, and that the people in my car’s path were safe. I thank God for keeping me safe that night. I thank God for the stolen plate that was put on my car. Had it not been seen, had I not been stopped, who knows what might have happened. I may have hurt or killed someone if I’d been able to continue on the road home. I thank God for that police officer who did his job and did it well. Who cared enough about me and my fellow citizens to not let me drive away until he was convinced I was okay to drive. I regret painting him in a bad light in my many retellings of the story. I especially regret doing so after having become a Christian, I guess because I feel I should know better. I thank God for the regret I feel. It shows that he’s there and he’s working in my heart and growing me into someone better than who I was. I love you Lord, and I thank you for loving me enough to not leave me the way I am!

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This article has been read 878 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/21/06
I so much appreciate your honesty in sharing this story!
Donna Powers 10/22/06
A very good lesson for all of us. This was a very good story and you told it well.
Sandra Petersen 10/23/06
This was right on topic. Sad to say, when we become Christians those old, 'oft-told' tales are too often retold through our 'old man' nature. Thanks for being honest, and praise God you learned to see that story through God's eyes.

One suggestion: I would have separated the article into a few more paragraphs. You could write out the dialogue between the officer and you (even if you couldn't remember it word-perfect, the idea of what went on would make the story even more interesting).

Great 'police' story and really good lesson!
David Huckabay Jr10/26/06
As they say, experience is often life's best teacher. Great story! A suggestion, however, when quoting a thought, try italiacs.