I got a GOOD driver’s license picture at the DMV!

Real Help for Real Living

by Rev. Tony Marciano

I had to renew my driver’s license recently, which meant another shot at getting an acceptable license photo.

Going into it, I knew part of the test was determining which road sign was which, so I printed out a copy and reviewed them before taking the test. I aced the vision test and did well on the symbol test (I admit I got confused on one of the orange symbols). The tester approved me and asked me to sit in the seat so my picture could be taken.

But you can’t really practice for the ‘picture test’ like you can the symbol test. I was entering the dreaded picture phase of driver’s license renewal and was determined to ace it, too.

I watched as person after person went before me. As they sat down, the tester “snapped” the picture. We’ve all seen those pictures… often we’re embarrassed over them. They cause us untold grief and embarrassment every time we fly.

How often has a NTSB inspector looked at your driver’s license picture, looked at you, looked at your picture, looked at you, held your driver’s license up in the air so he could compare your photo to your actual face and finally stamp your boarding pass while mumbling something about a “lousy picture.”

That wasn’t going to be my lot. So when the lady behind the camera called “Marciano,” I plastered a smile on my face. When she asked me if my address had changed, I had to answer “no” through teeth stuck in a permanent smile. Then she went on to discuss backgrounds and ask which I wanted.

I didn’t care. I wanted the photo to be taken while this smile was still on my face. I was well aware of her trick. I’d relax for a moment, ask to see the different backgrounds and while examining my options the flash would go off and I’d have a lousy photo for the next many years of my life.

I answered all her questions through the smile. Realizing she couldn’t get me to drop it, she took the photo. It’s a great picture that I’m proud of.

There was a lot of intentionality in my obtaining a new driver’s license photo. I wasn’t going to play the victim. If I wanted a good photo, the responsibility fell on me, not the picture taker. I couldn’t blame the DMV for a bad mug shot. It was up to me whether it was good or lousy.

Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” said this about self pity: “Seeing yourself as a victim spawns the emotional cancers of complaining, criticizing, comparing and becoming cynical.”

How many people do you hear bragging about their driver’s license picture?

I realize there are things in your life that are not in your control. Things will happen outside your ability to influence. I’m not talking about those situations. I’m talking about the things that are going to happen to you in 2012 that are within your control. Those are the things you have to take ownership of… the things you have to take responsibility for.

As we begin 2012, I’m reminded of the Serenity Prayer. The first part most of us are familiar with. It says, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Let me encourage you to pray for wisdom.

But the prayer goes on to say, “Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.”

Make this the year you don’t play the “victim” role, but are the “over comer.”

I’ll be back in two weeks. Until then, live well, my friend.

The Rev. Tony Marciano is executive director of the Charlotte Rescue Mission, which provides a free, long-term Christian recovery program for men and women who are addicted to drugs and alcohol.

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