“Anything you can’t control is teaching you how to let go.”
~ Jackson Kiddard
Several weeks ago, I received a mysterious letter in the mail. Since last year I have changed to online statements for all my accounts, and this envelope did not look like any solicitation company, so I was intrigued. To my surprise, it contained photos of my black CRV, as well as my license plate. It was one of those dreaded red-light camera tickets, blast it! For $158!! Double blast it!! They even provided a link to a low resolution video, where I could see myself “sort of stopping” and then turning (no full stop), so apparently there is no escape! Triple blast it!!!
My first thought was that it was a scam, since the return address was somewhere in Arizona, not from the city where event happened. I did some online research and found that although the Mayor and some city officials were supposedly against this camera, they still approved its installation. I realized that this camera brings in a lot of revenue to the city, so it’s very doubtful it would be uninstalled any time soon. Although this violation has no points against my driver’s license, it could be escalated if not dealt with.
My choices are to ignore, pay or fight it. I would try the latter option. I would go before the judge and plead my case and mention how the “intent” of the camera was really not to prevent accidents, but to bring in revenue. It was also very impractical at that intersection, since anyone who actually stops, would run the risk of being rear ended (because it’s Miami) by other drivers. As I was getting ready to figure out how to appeal it, I mentioned my situation to one of my friends, and I asked if he could recommend a lawyer who did this sort of thing. To my amazement (since he’s not one to do this), he proceeded to tell me a story.
A senior monk and junior monk were traveling together, when they came across a river with a strong current. They saw a young woman trying to cross the river and having difficulties doing so. She asked them to help her get across. The two monks looked at each other with doubt, since they had taken vows never to touch a woman. Then, suddenly, the older monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river, gently placed her on the other side, and continued on his journey.
The younger monk could not believe what he had just seen! After rejoining his companion, he was speechless. An hour passed. They continued walking side by side. Then two hours passed. Not a word between them. Then three hours. Finally, the younger monk could not contain himself any longer, and said “As monks, we are not allowed to touch a woman; how could you then, carry her across the river?” The older monk looked at him, and replied “Brother, I sat her down on the other side of the river. Why are you still carrying her?”
I realized I had been carrying this ticket situation for much longer than I should have, and it had gotten me anxious, frustrated and angry. More importantly, it was robbing my mind of concentrating on other issues that should be occupying my time and energy. I decided right then and there, that the right action was to just pay the ticket. I mailed a check that same afternoon (online payment had $5 additional fee, so out of principle, they were not going to get another penny out of me!). The second after the envelope fell inside the mail collection box, I felt a heavy weight lifted off my shoulders. That is what peace of mind feels like!
Are you still waiting for the lesson of the story? Well, there isn’t one! Although we should always try our best, sometimes events simply do not go our way, and that is fine. Let life be what it is. We don’t have to win all the time. When things don’t go as we had planned, just absorb it, make the best decision for that moment, and move on, like the older monk. That way we won’t carry the weight for longer than necessary. Well, maybe there is a moral after all.