Saturday, April 30, 2011


I was startled on my regular route into the town of Winchester, VA where I live, by a huge billboard with the words in gigantic caps:


As I drove by, I glanced below the wording expecting to see some kind of religious advertisement or a sacred music event. All I could see was a series of colorful logos of local high schools and colleges. And the name of a local bank emblazoned at the bottom. (It happened to be where I do my banking.)

I thought I would inquire what that is all about the next time I do business with that bank.

SPIRIT CHECKING. Meanwhile, the wording itself caught my attention each time I made a trip in that direction. The billboard was coincidentally also positioned near the place where a state police car often "hides" behind a little hill only partially visible to oncoming or passing traffic.

SPIRIT CHECKING. What's more, that billboard stands almost exactly where two years ago I had a brief, very brief, lapse of awareness to slow down on a certain Sunday morning on the way to Church in what seems to be a deliberate speed trap. Precisely here the normal 55 mph in our semi-countryside apple orchard area divided highway suddenly is posted 45 and then almost immediately 35. This is a route I take daily to Mass and the only route I can take wherever I need to go into town--and I always dutifully slowed down! Except that ONE time....

SPIRIT CHECKING. Yes, that one and only time did cost me an unbelievably hefty $ $ traffic ticket (my first, I'll have you know!) Nevertheless, when my auto insurance came due, the company dropped my policy...Imagine! And I had a clean record on their books, always paid my premiums on time! And no accident or traffic violations on my police record either! Don't get me started on this....I don't want to talk about age discrimination.... I bit the bullet, painfully paid the fine, found another insurance company (at a higher rate, it figures!) and moved on with my life....

SPIRIT CHECKING. I do slow down as I approach the police-hiding-hill now, whether I spot the police car there or not. I am acutely aware of my driving habits. (Of course, I always was!) I'm careful not to have lapses nor even dream of accelerating just a wee bit more if I am late. I even invested in a little silver key ring thing that dangles on my rearview mirror with the inscription, "Don't drive faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!"

SPIRIT CHECKING. Whatever that billboard is about (and I eventually found out from a friend that there are logos of your fav sports team or your child's school that you can order printed on your banking checks) I find myself searching my own heart and conscience to see if the Holy Spirit is putting His finger on anything in my life that may be grieving Him or quenching Him through omission of one of Jesus' commands or commission--lack of obedience in some area where He has been speaking to me. It serves as an examination of conscience.

SPIRIT CHECKING. Well, that billboard speaks volumes to me. I wonder if anyone else has a prick of conscience or thinks about the spiritual implications as they drive by? Or...just maybe...God had that billboard erected just for me??


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