I have a new ride. It’s a sporty little number with heated leather seats, sunroof, the works. And it’s candy-apple red, baby. What make and model, you ask?
I hate to put labels on things. After all, can you really judge a car by its label?
Okay. Maybe you can. Which is exactly why I don’t want to tell you I got a 2012 Prius.
See there? I can feel you judging me, right through the ink.
I have no idea why the Prius has a reputation for being uncool. Maybe it does look a little funny. But if a Prius is a nerd car, then call me nerdy. I’ve always been a bit on the bookish side, anyway. And according to Hollywood, the nerds do get their revenge every now and again.
I’ve had this car for a couple of months now, and I love everything about it. I love the color. I love the gas mileage. I love that the Bluetooth picks up my phone and logs into my favorite Pandora station automatically. And I love that my backside gets a cozy burn at the push of a button.
Driving it has taken some getting used to, though. I knew the Prius’s reputation for going like, a gajillion miles on a tank of gas. That’s why I didn’t fill it up the entire first week I had it. That’s why I didn’t fill it up that weekend, when I drove two hours to see my daughter at her college, and I didn’t fill it up when I drove the two hours back home. It’s why I ignored the little gaslight when it came on because, really. Priuses don’t run out of gas. Everybody knows that.
Plus, my mom was in the car with me, and we were talking about everything under the sunroof, and I figured if it really needed gas, Mom would know. She’s driven a Prius since they were new. And cool.
That’s why I was shocked when the engine sputtered and coughed and began to slow down. New cars aren’t supposed to do that. Not even seven-year-old new-to-you cars. I pulled over to the side of the road. The country road, y’all. When the clock read dark-45.
I had run out of gas.
In a Prius.
Who does that?
Fortunately, in addition to a nerdy Prius, I also have a very cool Superman. I called him.
“You what?!?” he asked. Apparently, Mr. Cool doesn’t always keep his cool.
“I ran out of gas. Can you come rescue me?”
He uttered something like a growl, told me to lock the doors, and said he’d be there as soon as he could. Within the hour, he arrived, fuel can in hand, and gave my thirsty Prius a cool drink of gasoline. We stopped at the next available station and filled her up to the tippy top—a whopping $18. (Still calling me a nerd? I think not.)
Since that day, I’ve paid more attention to my little redbird of a car, and I don’t let her go below half a tank. And it’s reminded me to be more aware of the people around me, as well. Sometimes, folks are running on empty. All the signs are there. They give off warning signals—maybe they’re stressed or depressed or distracted. That’s when we, as God’s ambassadors, are supposed to do what we can to refill their tanks with kindness, compassion and love.
Too often, though, we’re distracted with our own little solar systems, and we ignore the signs. Soon, the people God placed in our paths sputter, cough, and end up on the side of the road, feeling stranded and alone.
God wants us to be a constant fuel source for a thirsty world. When we all do our parts, we’ll find a whole lot more healthy travelers and far fewer side-of-the-road disasters. As for those times we find ourselves empty and depleted, we can always call on God. He hears, and He will come. And He won’t even growl.
Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly-perfect children, and far too many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com.