Batteries Not Included

375 375_ () 375 375 Yesterday was a rough day. Still mourning the loss of Hilde, I headed out to the gym to get in some exercise and let the endorphins jumpstart my mood. After a decent workout, I got in the car, put in the key and… nothing. It wouldn’t start.

I felt like I was in the middle of a country music song. My dog just died. My truck won’t start. It was terribly sad and frustrating.

I called Paul and he was able to get Augie from pre-school, which was just down the road from me and the dead Suburban. While I waited, I went inside to see if anyone at the front desk was handy with large, obnoxious vehicles. A kind young man offered to take a look.

What we discovered (“we” because I stood next to him and pretended that any of the objects I was looking at made the least bit of sense) was a bunch of acid coming off a very bad connection to the battery. He tried wiping it off with a toothbrush, then suggested I buy a coke, pour it on the affected area and try again.

By this time, Paul and Augie had arrived, and Paul (in his suit) took over the business of getting my car back to life. We finally procured a set of jumper cables after sufficiently de-acid’ing the connection. Why we don’t have our own set of jumper cables is a very good question, seeing as we both drive relatively old (but very paid-for) vehicles. Item One on my Christmas List: my own jumper cables.

And Item Two I got yesterday: A brand new battery for the Suburban.

It turns out the battery was as low as it could go; five-years-old-low. After we were able to start the car, with the help of a very kind gentleman who had a brand new battery that got us the power we needed, I pulled out of the parking lot just to have the car die on me again– this time in heavy, intersection traffic. I called Paul, who had just headed in the opposite direction back downtown.

“Come quick,” I said. “I’ll be needing a ride home.”

Paul did a U-turn, pulled into a parking lot and I started the fun, satisfying task of transporting groceries from my car to his in the middle of one of Augusta’s busiest intersection. (Did I mention my car is paid for? Because I said this to myself OVER and OVER again during these few moments). We called a tow-truck, waited for the police and then headed home.

I realized I needed to get a ride home for the boys and tried calling my mom and Paul’s dad (who both teach at the school). I couldn’t get either and I was starting to panic and tear up.

“Lord, give me a sign you’re still on the throne!,” I thought with a flair of drama, forgetting that in the grand scheme of things this was all a really little deal.

Just then, my cell phone rang. It was my friend Dennis, who also teaches at the school.

“Are you okay,” he asked. “Somebody just called and said they saw the Suburban on the side of the road.”

“I’m fine,” I said exasperated. “It’s fine. It’s going to the shop.”

“Do you need anything?”

“No, I’m here with Paul, on the way home.”

“Do you need a ride for the boys?”

“Yes!,” I said. I hadn’t thought to ask him for that. “I do need a ride for them.”

“Paul’s dad is standing next to me and he says he’ll bring them home.”

Exhale. Big exhale. It’s going to be fine. Things are coming together. Paul dropped me off (he had a client waiting at the office) and the rest of the afternoon was absolutely peaceful. The car simply needed a new battery. I got it back today.

The person who called Dennis had no idea how that simple act of checking on me, which prompted Dennis to call me, which prompted getting the boys a ride when I couldn’t connect with anyone — how that simple act built my faith and reminded me that God is everywhere, and especially in the love of others. The friend even called back later to make sure everything had worked out.

Maybe it was a prompting of the Holy Spirit, or maybe just curiosity — either way it turned the tide for me.

I’ll be sure to make the effort for someone else the next chance I get. 375″>



  1. yeah this happened to me. if the battery or the connection goes, even if the car is running, there is no power going to the computers… and the fuel injectors and all the other doodads. not like the old days where once you jumped it you were good.
    cars are fun.

  2. Ruth Anne Adams says:

    We pray this prayer as we set out on travel, known to us as “The Judy Prayer”:

    Dear Lord,
    Please grant us safe passage to our ultimate destination without accident OR INCIDENT. We ask this, and all things, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

    Judy is a busy, beloved saint and she answers this prayer all the time.

  3. Rachel Swenson Balducci says:

    Thanks for the prayer Ruth Anne. Good idea.

    Carson: yes, we just discovered this new feature of the modern car. We too thought once it started I could get home. All it took was turning on to the road and it was already dead. Live and learn.