Leaving Mexico by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

Four stops in ten minutes.  Unheard of.  Dave and I had driven the Mazatlán-Kansas route for eleven years, and rarely were we asked to stop our car for an inspection.  Even at the border, the agents would see an elderly couple (us!) driving a mini-van and wave us through.  No checking for contraband.  We look, I guess, innocent.

But this time, in a ten-minute span, four Mexican check points were there to make sure no one tried to bring as much as a tomato into the U.S.

I knew that this vegetable/fruit issue was risky business. Years before, while flying into Mazatlán, an airport security officer asked if I had any such item on me.  My confident “No, Señor,” was met with an overactive dog who sniffed “something” in my carry-on, the “something” being the partially-eaten apple I had stuffed into my bag that morning.  I might as well have been a serial killer, the way I was scolded.

On this trip, three out of the four traffic stops were uneventful.  What were we doing in Mexico?  Where were we headed?  Where had we been?  Usual questions with kind, smiling responses, waving us through.  We were impressed, however, when one such detainer held a long-handled mirror which he used to look under our car.  But this detaining duo seemed different.

I, the driver, was asked to raise the hood so one of the men could search under it.  His partner walked to the back.  Dave got out of the passenger seat and joined him as he searched the rear of our mini-van.  He opened my backpack and looked through each zippered compartment.

The guy in front was another story.  After he checked the engine, he knelt in the driver’s seat and proceeded to smack the back of each seat as well as the padded roof. This pair was clearly intent on finding something illegal.  Everyone else had recognized innocence when they saw it, so why not this pair?

Unless, of course, they weren’t legitimate.  We had heard of a checkpoint where the searchers distracted the driver of the car while a third man dislodged and stole the spare tire.

We didn’t consider that option, however, until we were told we could leave and were miles down the road.  The point is, we had nothing about which to be concerned.  We were hiding no drugs, no people seeking asylum in the U.S. and no certainly no apple or cucumber that would cause alarm.  They could look all they wanted; there was nothing that would incriminate us. We were taking no risks. It was a wonderful feeling to be completely innocent.

Oh, if only I could say the same for my heart.  If God could search it and find nothing of which I would be guilty!  If I could confidently stand before Him and know that I was holy and innocent and loved everyone and never judged/complained/worried and never told Dave that he was getting on my nerves.


In Psalm 139:23-24, King David prays to God: Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. 

 Now, that’s a risky prayer.



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