Are You There God? It's Me Heather (And My Broken Car)
About 3pm on Friday, my fantabulous Pastor (he reads this blog), calls me and asks me if I would run and pick up a ham, plates, Easter baskets, and candy for the Fellowship Dinner and Egg Hunt this weekend. He says he’ll give me the credit card.
Thinking this would be much easier to accomplish sans kidlets, I head over to the church as he and the youth are preparing to head out of town for the weekend. I hang out for a little bit (because the peeps are amazing and make me laugh) and then head on my merry way – excited to complete my first mission for the church.
About half way there, my car makes this funny noise…I begin to pull off the interstate and then my battery light comes on and my power steering is gone. I manage to get off the main road and parked along the side and that’s when I see the smoke start coming out from underneath the hood.
Deep breath. Say a prayer.
I open the hood and it’s a mess. I see a hose no longer attached to where it appears to have once been attached. (Cars are not my forte.)
Deep breath. Say a prayer.
I call my Dad. (He’s on his way to Tennessee from Atlanta, by the way… at least 5 hours from me)
“Dad…when the hose comes off the tank that says ‘engine coolant’ on top and there is now stuff all over the inside of the car, that’s not good is it?”
I explained what I saw and he, patiently, God Bless him,
walked me through what he thought was the problem. He instructed me to
put the hose back on the overflow tank and then go to one of the
neighboring businesses and ask for a bucket of water.
I got to one business (a doctor’s office). I explain my situation. She tells me that they don’t have a bucket. (She was on a personal call, I could tell…so I bet they did have a bucket, but it would’ve been an inconvenience for her to help me.)
I walked next door to the nursing home and explained my situation again and a very nice gentleman gave me a trashcan filled with water. While filling the bucket, we were talking about life in general and he says, “How old are you? About 26?”
He made my day…
Off I went to fill up my over flow tank. On the way back to the car I see something hanging down from underneath… my heart sinks. It’s not going to be a quick fix now.
Deep breath. Say a prayer.
I’m surveying the situation and I’m contemplating my next move. I know that Dad won’t be able to help if I call him back. I’m running through my small list of local friends in my head who could come and get me.
I see a car slow down. The lady rolls down her window and says, “You need some help?”
I can’t remember what I said, but she parked her car and came up to the car. I told her what Dad had told me and she looked at me and ashamed, I said, “I know, I’m 30 and I still call my Daddy.”
She simply replied, “I wish I still had my Daddy to call.”
She looked all around the car and then said, “No husband, eh?”
Open wound, pour in salt.
“No husband,” I replied. “Just two kids.”
She looked at me and said “It’s going to be alright” and that’s when I burst in to tears. I was alright up until that point.
She got on the phone and called her mechanic. About that time, someone from the nursing home had come over and identified the belt that was now dangling below my car. The serpentine belt – to which Connie, the lady that stopped, and I would head out to buy while we waited for Charlie, her mechanic, to fix my car.
I learned a lot about Connie. Single mom of four kids ranging from 19 to 13 – 3 girls, 1 boy…. Homeschools them while working a full time job with the help of her sister – pretty impressive if you ask me… and she has peeps to call when she’s in trouble.
She used to be a Jehovah’s Witness and she used to date women. And she asked me out. I reply with my standard joke, “I gave up dating for Lent” to which she asks, “When is that over?”
Yes, even my God stories have a Heather twist….
Charlie got my car going and they sent me on my merry way. Connie was right – everything was alright. It could’ve been much worse and I am so very grateful that she stopped and helped me. Eventually, I would’ve gotten it all straightened out…
I call my Dad back and let him know that I am okay and that I’m on my way home. I omitted the part where Connie was a lesbian. He says, “You know, you’re lucky I answered the phone when you called… Don Maclean’s American Pie (his FAVORITE song) was just coming on….”
I head to get the kids from a friend who had gone to pick them up from the after school program and we pick up Samara’s friend and get back to the house.
About 9 or so, it dawns on me that maybe they needed that stuff at the church on Friday night. I have no numbers other than Pastor Man (who’s rocking out with 16,000 other people North Carolina) – he answers but tells me he’ll call me right back.
An hour or so later he calls me back and tells me that it’s okay, they’re having a great time, he appreciates my help, and that he’ll see me Sunday.
At 11 he calls back and I answer. “Are you in bed?” he asks.
“Yes,” I reply. “But I’m not sleeping… what’s up?”
“We need rolls. Can you get rolls, too?”
I add rolls to the list and Saturday morning, I’m up and I’ve got all three kids with me headed back over to Sam’s to once again attempt to gather the supplies needed for the Fellowship Dinner and Easter Egg Hunt.
I could elaborate on this story….but I’ll keep it short…
There are some basic life lessons here though… the biggest being, don’t send someone who’s never been to a Fellowship Dinner at this church and who doesn’t cook to the store to purchase a ham to feed the church. :)
I won’t even go into part about the store not wanting to let me use Pastor Man’s credit card. But with three whining, complaining children, I think they finally let me just to get me out of there.
On the way home, my car breaks down again.
You read that right. Same problem.
I call my friend (I know she’ll come and get me… I’ve got her kid in the car with me!) and she comes to get me. Guess what? Her brother is a mechanic. I had the car towed to his house and he’ll be fixing it for me.
Matthew and I stuffed 451 plastic eggs last night for the hunt today while Samara was at a friend’s watching the Kids Choice Awards.
I arranged for a ride to church and made mac and cheese to take.
And everything’s going to be okay. Not sure when I’ll get my car back, but we’ll be alright.
We had something to be grateful for church and lots of prayers…
And boy did we have something to laugh at over lunch….
Wonder if they’ll ever send me on any errands again?
Until next time…
(PS. I respectfully declined Connie’s invitation.)
by Heather Jacobson of DesperatelySeekingSanity.com