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...