Sleeping on Sidewalks (Part 2 of “The Infamous Twelfth Move”)

None of us knew the axle had broken when we met up at the MLK and Trinity intersection. We only knew the brakes were shot and the truck would not accelerate. The sun dropped behind the Austin skyline. The U-Haul hotline hold music played on. We were stranded downtown on a balmy Saturday night.

Thirty minutes later, the U-Haul hotline woman said, “Don’t worry, a mechanic is on his way to diagnose the situation.”

An hour later, the local-yokel mechanic scratched his beard and said, “Yep, axle’s shot and I can’t tow you. But my boss will let U-Haul know and they’ll help you out.” He drove off into the darkness.

It was then I knew we were in for a long night. Cody’s friend Chris showed up. He’d been in Austin visiting friends and kept us company while Zach played phone tag with the U-Haul hotline. Becca stretched out on her yoga mat. Rufus was restless. I put my headphones on and tried to tune out the situation. It didn’t work.

The heat and the traffic and the eclectic collection of downtowners got to me as the hours passed. Anxiety crowded my mind just as fast as I could pray. I got cranky. An hour or two of sidewalk sitting felt reasonable. Laying out on the sidewalk until the bars closed felt like undue punishment. At one in the morning, I stretched out on Becca’s yoga mat and fell fast asleep.

I awoke to the lights of a big-rig tow truck. The mechanic got right to work loosening the tires and rods and hooking up the busted truck. My heavy eyelids closed again. Rest and progress did wonders for my rattled spirit.

Eventually Zach moved me to Becca’s car to sleep until the ordeal was finished.

“I’m glad you weren’t awake for all of that,” Zach said.

According to our group, the truck went a little up and little down and a little side to side a few times before the guy had it hooked up just right.

Yes, I am glad I missed all of that.

Sixth Street (Austin’s party street) closed down and we took to the interstate again. I considered this truth: we must pray before we attempt phone calls, conversations, plans-of action, and worry. But you can’t ward off worry with just one prayer. Sometimes you must battle to fix your thoughts on Christ and the blessings in the situation. (Yes, there are blessings to be counted in each situation. Zach did not break down on I-35. No Sixth Street drifters made their way down to our intersection. God was watching over us.)

Sometimes, you must simply rest.

The “quiet waters” of rest restore our souls (Psalm 23:2-3). Peace eluded me until I laid down to rest – until I surrender my need to be in control – that early Austin morning. Now, if I could only learn to surrender control without having to lay down and fall asleep…

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