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Running on Empty

Running on Empty September 6

I almost ran out of gas on Thursday — speaking of my car of course.

I started the car to head up to Woodstock to visit a couple folks and noticed that the yellow low fuel warning light was on; however, the computer screen was telling me that I still had 100 Km in the tank.

Now there are three gas stations in Norwich so there’s no shortage of choice. Their prices however are usually 3 – 5 cents higher per litre then what I usually pay in Woodstock and my Visa card gets me a discount of three cents per litre when I fill up at Petro Canada. So, with 100 KM in the tank and Woodstock just 25 KM away, saving 6 to 8 cents per litre seemed like a sensible decision.

As soon as I turned left onto Highway 59 I noticed that the screen in my car said I had 85 Km left. Four kilometers later I was down to 75Km. I tried doing the calculation in my head. If the computer is showing a 10 Km diminishing for every 4 that I drive, how many Km will I be able to actually drive before I run out (doesn’t this sound like one of those tests meant to determine how smart we are).

Anyways, I couldn’t figure it out. I work with words, not numbers, and I made the assumption that no matter what the screen was telling me, I would easily make it to Woodstock.

Just as I pulled into the PC station just over the 401 on Norwich Ave. a warning indication began to sound, and the screen said to stop the car and put it into park. I’d never seen that before.

The final anxiety involved the situation that every pump was occupied and I had the vision of running out of gas 20 feet from a pump.

Embarrassment was the major concern. With all of the instrumentation and fuel calculations a modern car can give, how does anyone run out of gas?

I ignored the warning alarm and was able to get to a pump and fill the car.

I actually felt a little light headed as I got out of the car. Probably the result of being anxious about being stranded on the side of the road or as I have said even worse, 20 feet from the fuel my car so desperately needed.

So really, what was the worst that could have happened.

Ever watch one of those adventure shows about life in Africa. A solitary driver riding in their open Jeep just in sight of lions and elephants. I watch those shows and wonder what will happen if the vehicle breaks down out in the open like that. Then I realize, there is someone behind the camera that is filming their adventure and probably a few extra “someones” also along for the ride with extra fuel and rifles to keep the host safe.

I wasn’t in Africa. I was in Oxford County. Only wildlife I was riding in sight of was a few squirrels and raccoons. Some of whom had met up with other vehicles and lost.

The worst that could have happened to me would have been to pull my vehicle over to the side of the road, call Pam or the CAA and read something on my iPhone as I waited for help arrived.

Small embarrassment and inconvenience and had I actually run out of fuel I probably wouldn’t be writing this reflection letting you know.

Kevin and Heather recently reminded us of the inconvenience of a power failure. As frustrating as it can be, we should be reminded that so many in our present world can only dream of a constant flow of electrical power for our refrigerators full of food, air conditioners, televisions, computers, cell phones and so much more.

We live with what many refer to as first world problems that pale so much in comparison to third world realities.

I can hear some saying “let’s not forget about Covid-19. That’s an “every world” problem. And I wouldn’t minimize that reality for a moment but it would seem to me that every generation has had to deal with its own issues. It may have been war, other major epidemics, political turmoil. Whatever we have been called upon to endure, we have been called to endure with joy and faith and to find refuge in the Lord we worship.

“The Lord is good. When trouble comes, God is a strong refuge”.

Nahum 1:7

Pastor Lloyd