Running on Empty
Thank you Jackson Browne for that great song utilizing the famous phrase, “running on empty”. Today, Imma use it. Here’s the song if you wanna listen to it – 1977 baby!!
What do these things have in common?
- taking a vacation
- catching up with a friend
- touching base with a family member
When I was tending to some banking recently, I saw a connection between each of these four activities I had just participated in.
Do you see it?
At the bank I was making a deposit.
The vacation was an overdue necessity to retain sanity.
Close friends were chatting about what’s been happening in their lives.
Family love and connection was desperately required, poured out and yearned for.
In each case, a deposit was required to avoid running on empty, or perhaps to refill where the warning light was already illuminated.
Triple A keeps records of how many people run out of gas and receive their assistance. In 2006, 116,000 motorists ran out of gas.
I wish I could tell you how many people run out of gas emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually, or how many are running on empty right now. I bet it would be many of you.
There are signs when your car is nearing empty. That light illuminates on your dashboard and signals you have 30-50 more miles to go before you will be on empty. After that, there will be no more going until you refill.
And if you do completely run out of gas, because your car is fuel injected, meaning the pump is inside the tank, that pump will be running dry which is harmful to the pump and engine and can cause costly damage.
When you do refuel, it then takes time for the gas to pump through the pump and carburetor, crank the engine and then it will finally start up again. Hopefully, without any damage.
Let me stick with this car scenario for one more point.
There are common symptoms of running out of gas – running on empty. They are:
- indicator light on dash lights up
- car won’t start
- car stalls out regularly
Me thinks people may very well have similar symptoms when they are running on empty.
Like in the cases above.
It had been years since a vacation had been planned, taken or enjoyed. There were warning lights being ignored, fatigue was making starting more difficult and stalling out more regular.
After several busy and stressful weeks these friends finally were getting caught up. Only to find the fuel tank nearly empty and running on fumes. The conversation was helpful to refill the tanks, but fuel levels were dangerously low. There were many warning lights flashing, damage was imminent and much more refilling was needed.
2020 had taken it’s toll on these family members; the separation, isolation, loneliness, stresses, numerous disappointments were emptying the tanks. Phone conversations for temporary refueling were helpful, but what was needed was face to face, extended time being together, and that was coming up this week!!!! Tons of warning lights, stalling and just not being able to get motivated were signaling it could not come fast enough. They were running on empty.
The bank account was in need of a deposit as well, before it too became too dangerously close to empty. Luckily, a hefty deposit saved the day and things kept running.
I am concerned about you, about people today. Are there warning lights trying to tell us we are about to run out of gas? Are we in need of a deposit? Emotional deposit? Physical deposit? Spiritual deposit?
I urge you to stop and take notice. Do not go one step further without evaluating your fuel levels. Are you low on emotional fortitude? Physical energy? Spiritual drive?
Have you been finding it difficult to get going, or start things? Is your motivation nill and interest low?
How are you doing with completing tasks? Do you finish, make it through to the end or stall out somewhere before?
These are signs that you are running on empty, that you need a deposit of some sort.
For me, I recognize the signals in my life when I am running on empty; irritable, antsy, unhappy, hard to please, selfish, tired… Anyone else?
And for me, usually what is needed most is I need to get outside and spend time alone out there just being. Unplug, disconnect and refuel. Get my personal tank resupplied.
Jackson Browne had it right when he said, “Looking into their eyes I see them too… running on empty…” “Running on empty, running blind.”
Get refueled, refilled, make those deposits, receive those deposits and heed the warning signs. Keep yourself from running on empty.
Cheers to you.