Take the Time Fill the Tank

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Monday was a crazy day!  I was rushing from the moment I woke up until …  well … I ran out of gas.  Literally.

That morning, I went to a 5:30 a.m. spin class.  When I got home, I had to clear up some problems with the boys’ paper route. Then I rushed like usual to get the kids off to school. We let our oldest daughter drive my husband’s car to school, so I took him to work.  On the way home, I stopped at the allergist to get a shot.  When I got home, I had just minutes to clear the breakfast dishes and start the laundry.  I had so much work to get done and yet it felt like I was moving in slow motion, like I was waist deep in mud.  With so much to accomplish, I didn’t feel like I had time for my regular scripture study and prayer.  So I skipped it.

I hustled down to the elementary, picked up two kids, and took them to the dentist.  Their appointments went long, and because they missed their lunch, we stopped at Costco for a hot dog.  That also took longer than I anticipated.  I ended up dropping them off at school thirty minutes before the day ended.  After that I visited the grocery store and tried to deliver invitations to a party I had been planning.  Then it was back to the dentist, this time with a different child.  His appointment was scheduled to end around 4:30 p.m.  I had to be in Blackfoot (thirty minutes away) at 5:00 p.m for three orthodontist appointments (yes, I have three kids in braces at once).  I had absolutely no wiggle room in my schedule.

Just as we were rushing out the door to head to Blackfoot, I got a phone call from my husband Mike.  He said something along the lines of, “Shawna, please get some gas before you leave town. The tank is getting low.”  Now you have to understand that our gas gauge has been broken for a while.  And, as a result, I have run out of gas more than my fair share, sometimes in unusual and inconvenient places.  Thus, Mike  is always concerned about me and my gas tank.  And you would think I would learn my lesson. There is a certainly a logical solution to this problem. But when I get in a frantic state, I just don’t think logically. And this is exactly what happened on this occasion…

I reasoned to myself that I would have enough gas to get to Blackfoot because I could remember filling up the tank on Labor Day. Surely Mike was being overcautious.  I decided not to stop for gas and I got my kids to their orthodontist appointment on time and without incident. Yay for me!  Right?  We rushed in the door to the orthodontist’s office like a bunch of crazy people, and then we sat for nearly 45 minutes in the waiting room. There was some emergency or something, and the doctor was running late.  By the time my kids were done, it was well after 6:00 p.m. and everybody was exasperated and hungry.  And I have to admit that I totally forgot about that little issue of the gas tank.

I was on the freeway heading home and listening to grumbling tummies and whining children, when I realized that the pressure of my foot on the gas pedal was losing effect.  That my suburban was quickly slowing down.  That I was, in fact, running OUT OF GAS! I pulled over to the side of the road, completely humbled.

I had put myself and my children in this situation because I didn’t have time to fill the tank. And the irony of it all, was that now I would spend an hour of my busy, precious time stranded on the side of the freeway. While I did not have time to fill the tank, I truly did not have time not to fill it.  In order for me to accomplish what was required of me that day, I needed fuel.  If I had understood this, I am sure I would have found a way to get it.

On the side of the road, as my children were discussing the ethics of cannibalism, I had some time to ponder where I went wrong that day. And I realized that before I failed to fill up my gas tank, I had failed to fill up another far more important tank.  I had passed over my spiritual fuel that morning as though it were a thing of lesser importance than laundry and dirty dishes.  I had allowed my busy schedule to push out the most important thing on my to-do list.  And as a result, I had not been in tune with the Spirit – the Spirit that would have calmed and comforted me numerous times and likely have prompted me to listen to my husband’s good advice.

So many days are like this.  Full and busy and crazy.  And it seems to take more strength than I can muster just to make it through the day. I am starting to realize that on the days when I seem to have the least time, I have the greatest need for the Spirit.  The Spirit will only attend me when I am sincere and serious about inviting Him into my life.  And that invitation does take time.  But I truly don’t have time not to do it.

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I love the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first hour sharpening the axe.” I want to be sharp so that I can face the challenges and responsibilities of motherhood.  I cannot afford to have dull days. The stakes are too high.

In case you were wondering, I did call Mike to come and rescue me.  And to his credit, he came without a word of criticism or even a look of judgment.  He was just really understanding about the whole thing.  And because it gave me time to ponder and recommit, I feel like the ordeal was worthwhile. But just in case I didn’t learn my lesson, will someone text me next week and remind me to get some gas?

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  1. Melanie Randall says

    So while your children were on the side of the road talking about cannibalism, which was chosen to be the one to sacrifice him/herself for the benefit of the rest? 😉

  2. Cami Ellis says

    Ooooh, what a crazy day!!! Running out of gas is the worst, sorry that happened to you! I’m glad I got to rub shoulders with you at the dentist!! I’m impressed your husband was so sweet about it!

  3. Denise says

    Words well put from one that has been there, done that too. 😉 With everything that Moms & Dads have to do on a daily basis, it feels like we”re always in the fast lane. We need to slow it down, and have some personal time with the Lord every morning before we head out into our crazy (wonderful) days. I can sympathize with you. Our gas gauge is broken on our truck too, and we just always have to remember to reset the odometer (trip) every time we fill up, and then we know how many miles we’re good for. :)

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