Just Lucky, I Guess

“But, why didn’t he give you a speeding ticket?” my oldest son asked me.

It’s hard enough for him to understand the nuances that go into interpersonal relations. Trying to wrap his head around his mother breaking the speed limit and a state trooper letting her off with a warning just made his brain hurt.

“I think he could tell I was truly sorry,” I said.

Really, the way I fumbled with my license and registration, muttering something about “I’ve only ever seen this done on TV, but I think this is what you need …” it was obvious I was new to the fast lane, so I think he just took pity on me. Plus, I’d just given him a hilarious story he could share with his family when he got home that night: middle-aged woman, driving a mom-van, with a clergy robe across the passenger seat, listening to Barbra Streisand, going 14 miles an hour over the speed limit, and she was so nervous you’d have thought she had a brick of cocaine in her purse.

Brick of cocaine? Yeah, I got that from the same TV show that taught me what paperwork to give a cop when he pulls you over.

It’s true. I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket, although I’ve been pulled over a handful of times in my adult life. I’ve never broken a bone (just a fracture, when I was 9) or had major surgery (just birthed two babies) or been unemployed (although I was fired once, and strongly encouraged to leave a few other jobs).

Although I feel blessed, I wrestle with whether or not to call any of these things “blessings,” because mine is a God that has much bigger things on his plate than anything I’ve described in this post. It’s the same reason I’m uncomfortable with the saying, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” I would think less of my God if I believed he got involved in any of my drama. Because there’s no shortage of drama in our world, and my speeding tickets and job interviews don’t warrant a heavenly hand at work in them anymore than anyone else’s.

Growing up, my sisters told me – often – how lucky I was (I really did get out of a lot). My husband would echo that today. We’ve been together more than 16 years and he still marvels at the landmines I dodge – some of them on purpose, but most of the time never knowing the mines were around me until after I’ve crossed the field.

I know my lifetime of good luck is one of the reasons I try to appreciate all that I have. That’s also why I focus so much on being happier with less. I figure losing everything will hurt a lot less if my pile of “everything” is small to begin with.

And maybe there is my distinction for blessing vs luck. Blessings can’t be piled up. Blessings can’t be taken away. And blessings don’t make one person’s life better – they make all of life better. That’s what I believe God is focused on and what I am called to focus on as well.