I'm not generally a person to let my gas tank get to the point where the Low Fuel Indicator turns on.
I know that running one's vehicle with the tank so close to empty will eventually harm the fuel pump, among other things, and that is bad for the car in general. But there I was, on a Monday evening, on my way home from work when the indicator light came on, with my paycheck not hitting the bank until early Wednesday morning, and still needing to get my daughter back and forth to her daily before and after care, and myself round trip to the Metro station for work. All I could do for the next day was pray that my car would start, and just get me to where I needed to go until Wednesday. I had to go as far as I could before the one gallon left in the reserve portion of the gas tank ran completely out.
It was a VERY long couple of days.
I thought about this again over Halloween weekend, as I watched my daughter try mightily through two extremely long days that started with a 6:30am wake-up to get ready for school (and get into costume for the school's Halloween festivities), a full day at school, followed by a sleepover for a friend's birthday, in which very little sleeping actually happened, but a couple of dips in a hotel pool which did a number on her pressed, 4C hair, getting back on Saturday, which was Halloween, around 2:00, followed by eating while I ran my errands, only to get back to our room to endure the 2 hour ordeal that was washing, conditioning, de-tangling (an unholy mess!), and blow drying her by then dry and very matted hair. By then it was time to get into Halloween costume #2 for trick or treating and a Halloween party for grownups and kids given by some good friends of ours later on.
Unlike a car that might start sputtering when low on gas, my daughter got unusually cranky and overly picky about little things when hitting her reserves. The costume itched, and the wig I had purchased to go with the costume was driving her crazy. The friends she was to go trick or treating with were running a bit late, and she fussed about that until they showed up. She mustered enough energy for a festive round of trick or treating, but I could tell after an hour or so that she was definitely starting to get tired. By the time we parted ways with her friends drove to the party, and grabbed something to eat and drink, I could tell that she wasn't going to last too much longer. My daughter then proceeded to lean against my arm, and fall fast asleep in the middle of an extremely loud, boisterous party. It was very difficult to wake her up, walk her to the car, get back to the room, then wake her up a second time in order to get her into the room, and ready for bed.
She had just done the human equivalent of "running on fumes": pushing herself to use every last bit of energy until she quite literally had nothing left, and had to rest to replenish.
I am considering this as I listen to the local news while watching my daughter sleep on an early Sunday morning.
Soon, this peace will give way to the normal noises of my daughter and I preparing for our weekly church service, although this Sunday, we will be visiting our sister church to sing.
There are a lot of people who wonder about those like me: This group who regularly rouse themselves out of a comfortable bed on a weekly basis to attend a worship service. For me, it is the equivalent of refilling my tank, after a long week of having my faith challenged, tested, and almost run into the ground. Especially when I've been going through some iteration or other of the same issue for a long period of time. My father calls those pro-longed faith fights. You pray and pray, and do everything physically, that you are supposed to do to change, or improve, your situation, but there is no movement for long periods of time. These issues can drain you, physically and spiritually. My method of replenishment is to spend a few hours each week among kind, like minded people (Not to say that there isn't anyone there that is mean-spirited or petty. I've just become an expert at avoiding the overwhelmingly negative.) who may or may not have been through what I've been through, and at least TRY to understand. I need that little bit of understanding and empathy to get through my own dark moments when I wonder if any of my ongoing efforts are ever going to yield any results.
It's getting late, and I need to get dressed. I suppose I could talk a bit more about how it's other Christians that make it hard for Christians to be Christians, but that is a subject for another post.
Time to go refill my tank.