I'm sure the Lord had something to do with what happened to me this past month.
It all started when I got a ticket a couple months ago. I was going to Bible study at Ellis Good Samaritan Center. On the way to town, I came to the intersection where there is one stop sign at the intersection and another stop sign at the blacktop curve several feet ahead.
I stopped at the first stop sign, glanced to the right and to the left, I didn't see anyone coming so I eased past the second stop sign and pulled out in front of the sheriff. Of course, his lights come on. I received a ticket for failing to yield the right of way and not coming to a complete stop. My total fine came to $248. Wow.
Everyone had a good laugh -- I even laughed at myself.
One day, a letter came from the Kansas Department of Revenue Divison of Vehicles Central Office. They had decided I needed to have my eye doctor check my eyes and fill out the form they sent. Since I had cataract surgery recently, I wasn't worried.
But later, another letter came from Topeka. This time, they asked me to take a driving test -- not on paper -- an actual driving test because one eye tested 20/40 the other 20/50. They wanted to be sure I could see well enough to drive. Now that's scary. What would I do If I couldn't pass the test? I had four tries to do it. It wasn't a laughing matter anymore.
I told my friends I thought I could pass a test easily. Everyone gave me advice and said they would pray for me.
I called the drivers license examination office to check if I needed an appointment and what time to come. Of course, I wanted to drive my own car. I had to wait a few days because it was in the body shop getting hail damage fixed.
The letter said I had to bring someone with me in case I failed my test. Now I thought "That's not going to happen." But it did. I failed my first try. They kept my driver's license. I was shocked.
I got out my Dammit Doll. She is cute, tightly stuffed, 12 inches long with yarn hair. On her front it reads "whenever things don't go so well and you want to hit the wall and yell, here's a little Dammit Doll you can't do without, just grasp it firmly by the legs and find a place to slam it and as you whack the stuffing out, yell Dammit, Dammit, Dammit."
I couldn't take the test again until the next week because they are closed on weekends and Mondays. Wonderful friends picked me up and took me to places I needed to go.
Then, I wasn't as confident, in fact, I was worried. What if I didn't pass? I was really anxious and nervous on the second try. Again I failed. I was so disappointed.
I asked the Lord to help me, I believe he wanted me to be aware, to pay attention, he wanted me to realize what I had taken for granted was a great privilege. Driving is a privilege.
On the third try, I passed. Hallelujah!
There was a lot of joking going on at first. I even told them I didn't pass and lost my license -- I'd have to get married again or hire a young man to be my chauffeur.
I now have more compassion for those not able to drive. I now realize just how hard it is for anyone without a car or license to get around. They can't go places. They really are tied down and hate to keep asking for a ride. I was causing my family and friends trouble using expensive fuel and changing their plans to include me. My sincere thanks to all of them.
The fellow and gals at the examiner's office were nice, explained what I had done wrong and what I needed to remember. I have learned a lot and so have my friends because they paid attention to what was happening to me. They got to thinking they should watch it, be more careful and pray they never have to take a test.
When I called Topeka to get permission to write about my driving test experience, I asked this question: Is it being considered that in the future seniors at a certain age will be required to take a driving test? Answer: Not that she knows of.
We all might consider going to the Extension Community Education Series "Safety and Security of Seniors" at the Ellis County Extension office, 601 Main. The first lesson will be at noon Sept. 18 and is free to the public. Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Tod Hileman will speak on new driving laws, common concerns for older drivers and when to give up the keys.
The Lord knows I'm always busy, on the go and often distracted. He found a way to get my attention, and in his own way, he revealed to me how much he loved me.
My advice, pay attention when you drive.
Opal Flinn is a member of the Generations Advisory Group.