September 4, 2010

Truly [Wo]Man Is Born Unto Trouble [Part 2]

This part of the story is called: My Angel in the Jeans and T-Shirt.

When I left for school this morning and reached the bottom of our hill I looked down and saw this strange, neon orange light. At first I thought it was the oil light (three cheers for the Dad who made his little girl learn how to change the oil) but... no. It was the gas light. I immediately switched directions and headed for the nearest gas station (a good five minutes away). At the top of another hill I cut the engine and began to coast. The engine didn't turn back on. I ran a stop sign with a turn that landed me safely in the shoulder of the road the station was on. Hazard lights. Locked the car. And began to walk.

It was a good twenty-minute walk- with me in thin flats on loose stones as cars wished past me- necks craning.

As I walked I had time to think. I don't think thinking did me very much good. I was missing my first class. The class with the teacher (my only teacher) who was inflexible about being on-time. This would be an absence. It wasn't (so much) the absence that bothered me. It was what my teacher would think.

And it wasn't my fault. I hadn't been driving the car. The person who had been had let it get down to empty. And I had noticed the gas-light almost as soon as I got going...

As emotions rose, I began worrying about what I'd say to whoever was responsible.

"Oh, God... help me not to be mad... 'cause I'M MAD! ...but... then... I guess that means... I'm mad at you."

I cried and laughed at the idea of being mad at God. He didn't want me in class that day. Who knows why. But He's God.

That's when my angel arrived- in a large red truck which I had earlier noticed slowing down as it passed me. She looked about fifty- in dirty jeans and a casual T-shirt. Her eyes were warm and her smile was full of wrinkles. Her hair was the color of prairie grass. Maybe she wasn't a heavenly angel- but she sure was an earthy one.

"Are you out of gas? 'Cause I saw you walking and then when I passed your car..."

I hopped in for the last few feet to the station. She immediately started asking around for a gas canister and offering different ways to help. They didn't have a gas canister but she had one at home.

"Would you be comfortable, me taking you?"

I wavered. But looking into her frank face and kind eyes, I knew I was comfortable. (I'm 18, people. I'm allowed to go with strangers. My grandmother hitch-hiked across Italy.) But... I also knew my parents would flip if I let her help me while they were so close.

She lent me her phone (have I mentioned that this whole week my cell-phone didn't work?) and I called Dad who immediately left to get me.

I thanked her and she was gone.

Thank you. You lifted me up. God bless you.

I was antsy. And when I'm restless I pace. So I paced. I got a lot of stares and smiles from the guys filling up their cars. I guess they were wondering what a girl in a skirt and flats with a huge back-pack was doing pacing in front of a gas-station at 7:30 in the morning. (Well, I was wondering too!)

My watch broke- that little metal thing the band goes in. I didn't know those could break. But mine broke. I stuck my broken watch in my backpack.

My Daddy came. He drove me back to my car. We put the gas in. I drove to the gas station. I filled it up some more. Then I went to school. I missed my first class... by about an hour. The teacher wasn't even there anymore so I couldn't apologize.

The rest of the day, thank goodness, was uneventful.

So, tell me. What do you think?

Maybe my car hates me. But I doubt it- it's a good car, it always tells the truth and drives very smoothly.

Maybe it's me. Maybe I was born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward. [Job 5:7]

And maybe God's teaching me something- something about myself and something about Him. I like being in control. I show up to class, I do my homework, and amidst a predominantly silent room I ask and answer questions. But sometimes things happen. Some things are not in my hands.

Sometimes, you just have to let go...


  1. Or maybe somebody needs to put gas in the car as a courtesy for the next person. :)

    You make me smile. But I am so sorry it's your tragedies that are fuel for the amusement. (Um, no pun intended :)