Running on Fumes

Take a night off,” he says. “Go somewhere.

My plans to attend a bible study are thwarted by the fact that I don’t know anyone there except one, and I can’t reach her.

So I drive.

Silas is getting fussy in the backseat — yes he’s there because he’s always with me. A night off isn’t fully a night off.

We park in the Target parking lot. I slip into the backseat and spend the next 20 minutes nursing him and playing Words with Friends.

Then I decide to skip the trip to Target, where I’d just end up spending too much of the money that we don’t have.

I drive, again.

Hungry, because I forgot dinner in my rush to get to bible study on time, I waver between one fast food restaurant and another. I want a drive-thru because Silas is fussy again.

I contemplate just going home, however when I call Josh he convinces me that I need a break.

Maybe if I just drive more Silas will fall asleep.

In the drive-thru his cries go to 11. I can barely hear the woman through the speaker.

He cries as we wait. He cries as I get my food. He cries as we leave.

Remembering a local park with a view, I drive the dark streets, hoping he’ll sleep by the time we get there. Then I can eat and write.

As I pull into the park, all is silent and still. Heaving a deep sigh of relief, I begin.

Suddenly, he’s crying again.

Should I just go home? Will he calm down?

Is this really a break from it all?

At home there’s laundry to fold, dishes to do, tv to distract me. I was hoping for peace. I was hoping for a moment with God.

So I drive again.

Memories of high school come rushing back. Days and nights spent driving around, just to drive and think. A time before I worried about gas prices and the importance of not wasting a full tank.

A familiar calm descends on the car. Remembering once again how I used to talk, out loud, to God as I drove my circuit between high school, college, work and church. About my troubles, my dreams, my needs. My family and friends.

I pause in a parking lot, hoping to capture my fleeting thoughts. For five minutes I have quiet, and then he erupts again. The child who brings me back to present day.

So we drive some more.

He slowly returns to his peaceful sleep and I return to my thoughts.

Sorting, discarding, filing away like a giant mail pile.

The cries begin again.

Cries that are no longer soothed by the rhythm of the car. Cries that need a momma.

We head for home.

As I park the car, I notice that the fuel gauge has dropped to just above empty.

I too feel like I’m about to run dry.

As I walk in the door, he can tell I’m still weary.

Then I find what I really need.

A song played on the guitar; a new melody to old verses. A hug that lasts longer than necessary, not just a sign of affection but a moment of support. Conversation about nothing in particular.

In those few moments with the partner God gave me, my tank fills enough to keep me running a little longer.


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6 thoughts on “Running on Fumes

  1. I’m so sorry your night off wasn’t a night off. However, I am thankful you were able to get a reminder of God’s love through your wonderful hubby. What a thoughtful man, wanting to give you the relief you need. Thanks, Josh, for taking good care of my friend.

    1. It turned out good! :) I don’t know what was wrong with Silas. Usually he loves riding in the car. He’s his normal smiley self today though. Haha! And I am blessed with a wonderful husband.

  2. Melissa~
    Oooh. I knew Josh was a great guy. Kenny is too. I’m so grateful for him. As far as your night out, try again. You’ll get a better one soon. I had to laugh when you talked about driving to just drive. I remember doing that. It doesn’t happen as often now. I mostly drive to get things done!
    So, here’s to soft quiet moments even if they’re just minutes!
    PS My mom used to read this book to me and my sisters called “5 minutes peace.” It was about this elephant family and the mom just wanted 5 minutes peace… in the end she gets a bath… but the last page shows all the kids in the bathroom with her! I think one was even in the tub! Haa, haa. I wish I could find that book now!

    1. Kenny is a great guy! We’ve been blessed to have so many strong marriages around us as good examples. You and Kenny were a couple of years ahead of us in our marriage experience and we loved the way you two interacted. :) I’m definitely gonna try again. There’s another bible study meeting in two weeks. Also, I remember Laurie reading us that book at a women’s tea. It was so cute. I should try to find it. :)

  3. So glad it turned out well. I know mommas have it hard in that respect because you very rarely (especially when they’re so little) get a day or night off. Praying for more rest and more peace even in the midst of the storms. :)

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