Lost, Alone, and Out of Gas

This isn’t the Musing I planned for you to read today. That one goes back into the file for another time. Instead, let me tell you about my morning.

I arrived at the church building a little after 8:00 to find an older Jeep Cherokee abandoned in the middle of the parking lot. The smashed lift gate window and shattered side windows meant somebody had a cold ride overnight. I wasn’t sure what I was going to find inside.

When I opened my car door to take a look, I expected to discover someone passed out in the SUV. It wouldn’t be the first time. Our location, adjacent to a major highway in the Twin Cities. makes our parking lot a convenient rest stop for weary and occasionally inebriated travelers. But this vehicle was empty. The broken glass in the backseat probably meant the damage was recent. The driver left a note, pink ink with big curvy writing. I’m guessing a girl.

“Ran out of gas. Be back soon. Sorry.”

“That’s good,” I thought, “Now I don’t have to spend my morning trying to figure out how to get this piece of junk out of our parking lot.”

It wasn’t long and Emily walked up the hill from the main road carrying an empty gallon jug, the kind that usually holds window washing fluid. The closest gas stations are over a mile away, and the bank tellers across the street probably couldn’t help.

“Hi. It looks like you’re still out of gas.”

“Yeah, there wasn’t anyone across the street to help.”

“I’ll check in our church garage and see what we have.”

A few minutes later I returned with a small gas tank and started pouring gas into her tank.

“What’s your name?”

“I’m Emily.”

“I have a daughter named Emily. Are you from around here?”

“No, I’m from Anoka (Anoka, Minnesota is 35 miles northwest of our church building).”

“That’s a cold ride without any windows in the back.”

“Yeah, my boyfriend and I had a domestic. So…”

“Anoka’s a long way away. What are you doing down here?”

“I got lost. I don’t have a phone. Then I ran out of gas. I only have $6.”

“Do you have a church up there in Anoka?”

“Yeah, St. Stephens.”

“Is that a Lutheran church or a Catholic church?”

“A Lutheran church. Sister Marie helps me out.”

I emptied the last of the gas from the can into her tank and asked her to give it a try. The engine fired. She said thanks and drove away. I watched her leave and wondered, “Lord, what did you want me to do for her?”

Do you ever wonder how many women like young Emily drove our Minnesota roads last night with nowhere to go? I’m guessing the “domestic” with her boyfriend happened sometime late last night. The fighting escalated. Lots of screaming and cussing and she tells him she’s leaving. She is so desperate to get away from him, she doesn’t grab her phone. How threatening must her life have been to run without her trusted companion?

She races to the car, and he follows her with something in his hands, maybe a baseball bat? He threatens as she climbs behind the wheel. Suddenly, glass shatters, and he winds up for the next swing. Smack! There goes another window. She stomps on the accelerator, shaking uncontrollably as she speeds away.

Getting as far away from him as possible, she turns on this road and then takes that exit as warm tears stream down her face. Before long the moonlight fades to sunrise, and her gas tank is nearly empty. She’s lost and without a phone. Her car lurches toward the exit ramp and comes to rest in our church parking lot. “Now what do I do?” had to be part of her thoughts at the moment.

Again, I ask, “Lord, what did you want me to do for her?” The only answer I can surmise is, “Put gas in her tank.”

“Yes, Lord, but what about the abuse?”

“I’ll take care of that.”

“Yes, Lord, but what about her soul?”

“I love her, and I died for her. I will woo her and chase her. I want her to love me like I love her.”

“Yes, Lord, but what did you want me to do?”

“I wanted you to put gas in her tank.”

“Yes, Lord, but she lives too far away to invite for Friend Day, and she drove off too fast to even give her a gospel booklet or to offer a prayer with her.”

“Like I said, I wanted you to put gas in her tank. That’s all. I’ll take care of the rest.”

“Yes, Lord.”

As always I welcome your feedback and any suggestions you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.