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 Comments

  1. Haley says:

    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. Melissa says:

      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. Caryn Doerksen says:

    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!
    ~Caryn
    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. Melissa says:

      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. jasonS says:

    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. :)

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks for your prayers, Jason. Honestly, I think my husband gives me more opportunities to take a break than I take advantage of. :)

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