Thor Has a Potbelly and Missing Teeth
Rachelle's Type One on the Enneagram, so she's always prepared, organized, and in control. I don't usually drive her X3 so what I thought was the fuel gage was actually the mileage to our next turn on Interstate-44. Fifty miles west of St. Louis on the busy and dangerous highway, the drive train lost power -- in the left lane -- and we barely had enough speed to pull to the razor thin right shoulder and park it. We were completely out of gas.
Of course, initially we didn't it know the problem was gas. We thought the gas gauge was saying "50 miles" to go, and with the electronic console flashing "Drive Train Problem - contact your dealer" we had visions of tow trucks, expensive repairs and massive problems.
Cars and semis zipped by no more than five feet from us, and after multiple phone calls to tow truck companies repair shops who never answered their phone (it was 7:15 pm, after hours), I tried to start the car again - and again - and again. I finally said, "It sounds like we are out of gas." We Googled "Drive Train Problem for X3's" and found several people who had experienced the same error message on their console. Most of them eventually discovered they'd run out of gas.
So, with no help coming and loaded with this new Google information, I told Rachelle I was going to walk back the two miles to the last exit we and try to get some gas.
"I'm going with you. If you get hit by a car and die, I'm going to die with you." Type One's have limited optimism. At first I told Rachelle I thought it best for her to stay with the car, but then realized if someone stopped while I was gone, she could be worse off than dying with me. My optimism was much better.
So, with sandals on her feet, and I in shorts, a Field and Stream fishing shirt, and sneakers, Rachelle and I held hands and walked back east on the narrow shoulder against high speed traffic like soldiers moving toward Bataan. Half a mile from the X3, Rachelle almost stepped on a dead armadillo. The animal was flatter than a pancake - a very thin pancake - and Rachelle screamed as she almost stepped on it and exclaimed she didn't know a armadillo could get so flat. We continued our walk through the valley of the shadow of death. At some point I felt it safe to cross four lanes of high speed traffic and begin walking with westbound traffic.
I later discovered that Rachelle had prayed when we crossed the Interstate that God would send an angel to rescue us. Like usual, her prayers were answered in a striking manner. God sent an angel not more than thirty seconds after we crossed highway.
His name was Thor.
He was driving an ancient pick-up. He passed us, pulled over a quarter a mile ahead, and then proceeded to back up to where we were walking. Rachelle muttered, "Oh my word." Due to the look of the pick-up and the erratic manner in which it was backing, Rachelle was thinking, "This is it. We are going to be kidnapped, robbed, beaten and left for dead."
But when we reached the truck, the passenger side window was already down and the driver asked, "Need some help?" I told him I thought we might be out of gas and were walking to the nearest gas station. He said, "Get in. I live in the next town and I'll help you out."
With our prospects limited, I opened the door and saw just two small bucket-seats in the pick-up. Cigarettes, beer cans, and litter filled the passenger floor board. I crawled into the passenger seat, and Rachelle sat in my lap, having to crane her neck, bending down her head to avoid hitting the inside roof.
"My name is Thor," the driver said.
I introduced myself and Rachelle. "Thor?" I said, "I don't think I've ever met a Thor except in the movies." He grinned and said, "I like my name because not many people have it."
I found out Thor was a mechanic in the town we'd just passed, and he really was wanting to help us. He told us that he had been out of work because of seizures. I felt my wife jump at the word seizure and her inner nurse took over.
"When's the last time you had a seizure Thor?" It was a while back, but he assured us he could tell when it was coming on.
"Do you take medication for the seizures Thor?" Nope, medication was too costly and really did no good came the response.
"Have they told you not to drive Thor?" With this question I began to have a creeping desire for my brilliant nurse doctor to stop asking questions about Thor's seizures. There was nothing I could do if Thor lost his chariot. It was a stick shift and with my wife on top of me, if Thor were to begin shaking like a bobble-head, we'd all go down in flames together. I would rather die ignorant than with my eyes wide open.
However, my wife persisted, and after the few minutes it took to get to Thor's garage, obtain a five-gallon gas can, fill it up with gas, and then arrive back at our X3 on the side of the highway, I knew more about Thor's medical condition than his own mother.
But we made it.
Thor poured the gas in our stalled car, and within 30 seconds I had it started. We followed him east bound to the next gas station, and after filling up Thor's truck and gas can, giving him some money for his remarkable kindness, and then telling him a little about our ministry to people, we shook hands with our new friend and parted company.
One hour after the power train in the wife's X3 failed due to insufficient gas, we were again heading east toward St. Louis and our ultimate destination of Columbus, Ohio.
God sent us an angel.
He could have been named Charlie, Sam, Billy Bob, or any other name, but this angel was named Thor. And to top it all off, Thor had a pot-belly and missing teeth.
Though it's only day one of our working sabbatical, Rachelle and I learned a lesson we will not soon forget.
God's best gifts are sometimes wrapped in unusual paper.