Thursday, June 23, 2005

Running on empty

Today, for the first time in my life, I ran out of gas. Literally. I was driving the kids to Vacation Bible School (fortunately on an empty residential street) and the car began to lose power, all the warning lights turned on, and it rolled to a stop at the stop sign. What a strange experience. The low fuel light had been on for days. I didn't pay any attention to it because I always reset the trip odometer every time I fill up the tank, and it told me I had driven about a hundred miles. Too soon for a fill-up. Fortunately, the driver who pulled up behind me at the stop sign pushed my car across the road to a little parking lot, and then kindly went to the gas station to get me a gallon or two to get my car started and get me to a filling station. As I explained that I didn't know what was wrong because I'd only driven a hundred miles, my son confessed to having reset the button when I unwisely let him stay in the car to listen to the Cubs game while my daughter had violin lessons. The car started up right away with the gas our Good Samaritan provided. I gave him two dollars (mostly change) which I had borrowed from my eight-year old because I had no cash. We made it to the gas station, filled the tank (forty dollars, yikes!), and went on our not-so-merry way. I was thankful, because not only had the kind stranger been willing to help, but my father-in-law offered to come get us, and my new and very dear friend called, said she was nearby and offered to take the kids to VBS while I tried to solve the car problem. I may not be rich in money, but I have a fortune in friends and family. Their love and unselfishness touches my heart. Several hours later, as the children sleep and I ponder why I'm still awake after midnight (it's genetic, I'm sure), I wonder how much my life is like my gasless minivan. I trusted that I had enough fuel to get me to my destination. I wouldn't believe the low fuel light because I always reset my trip odometer. Somewhere in the event is a lesson that I may be running out of fuel, coasting on spiritual vapors, relying on what I've done to take charge instead of trusting the warning lights installed by the manufacturer. I'm physically out of gas now, but it bears reflection. Tomorrow when I'm fueled up on coffee.

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