Running on empty

Empty from Flickr via Wylio

My parents had some pretty clear rules. One of them was inviolable… NEVER EVER leave the car gas tank at less than 1/4 tank.

This was especially true when one drove one of the family cars. The next driver would not appreciate driving on fumes. And since my parents were generous with gas money whenever we needed it, there really was no excuse!

Growing up in Rock Hill, SC, there was a gas station that kept a running tab for all of the teen drivers. The owner would settle up with my dad whenever he came by for a fill-up. We lived outside the city limits and, at the time, there weren’t any gas stations close by. (Times have changed! I checked out the old neighborhood and there’s been a lot of new developments!)

You’d think, hearing the pointed reminders at the dinner table that I would not forget to keep my car gassed up. And you would be… wrong!

Last week I was running here and there, busy with tasks for work, home and church. The “low fuel” light came on as I was headed home from a big church event. “I’ll fill up on my way to church in the morning,” I thought.

I ran late on my way to church on Sunday… so I figured I would just stop on my way home. And then forgot. And didn’t fill up on my way to work on Monday morning… And you can guess what happened. I realized in a panic that I was cutting it a little too close when I coasted to a stop at the gas pump, just as the engine cut out.

Whew. (I can hear my dad chuckling…) 

I found out that my car’s 19.2 gallon tank holds 18.55 useable gallons of gas. I didn’t really need to know that bit of trivia.

All’s well that ends well… except… It is a cautionary tale. Beyond the obvious common sense not to run your tank dry, of course.

Whatever the reason, no matter how good it is, there is nothing that should keep us from taking time to refuel. To rest. To heed the warning that we are low on energy. To find ways to rejuvenate that are more than just a pit stop. IMG_0883

In fact, it wouldn’t hurt any of us to just simply stop. Find a moment of beauty, of peace, of tranquility. Celebrate the renewal of the earth, the first flowers of spring, the giddy romp of the rabbits in the back yard.

Too often I push myself past the limits of my energies and emotions. I wear down. I get tired and careless. I lose patience. I don’t have the perspective that I need to solve a problem.

I’m counting the daffodils as they bloom in our yard (so far there’s five!) and remembering I was made to work, create and worship, yes. But also to rest. Refuel. And remember Who created me.




  1. Too true!! And I had to laugh…I’ve been preaching ‘don’t park the car in the drive with less than 1/4 tank!’ to the other drivers in my house, too…but I’m up against folks who don’t think they need to put gas in until the light comes on… thanks for the smile today!

    Liked by 1 person

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