It’s likely that you’ve done it. Running to the passenger side of a car, trying to beat your opponent (probably a sibling or a friend), shouting frantically hoping you get the words out first. “Shotgun!”
Within that two syllable word is a mouthful of expectation. Whichever of you can get it out the fastest is the one who gets to sit in the front seat. You have a front row view. You can see it all before it comes. You get to be front and center – and best of all, you get to sit at the right hand of the driver (taking for granted you’re in an American-standard vehicle).
Though the person in the backseat isn’t any less involved in the conversation or any more excluded from the view, there is something about spitting out “Shotgun!” just a little too late that makes you feel dejected.
I thought about this recently because I’ve been going through some things – trying to make peace with certain decisions, manifest certain desires, and accept that, yes I DID manifest many of my current life circumstances…including those mini-miracles that I somehow deep down just can’t seem to take credit for because I still believe something outside of me has to be solely responsible for creating anything so magnificent.
But there have been friends, several in particular, who have been right there. Each of them piling into and out of my metaphorical car on my metaphysical journey down the Highway of Life. Each one taking his or her perpetual turn screaming “shotgun” and taking a seat beside me as I navigate the spiritual road map of detours, potholes, yield signs, and open roads. Their respective inputs and support (and let’s be honest, sometimes outright scolding) got me to thinking – just what does it mean to ride shotgun with someone?
Well, historically, folks rode shotgun as a means of protection. Back in the days of the frontier (before electronic security and tracking devices) when stagecoaches would transport goods , drivers would have a companion ride along with a shotgun. If assailants pulled up on them, the companion was armed at the ready. The driver might be strapped too, but consider the work that would need to be done if the driver had to stop the horses, drop the reigns and grab his gun. Better to have someone alongside him. He can yell, “giddyup” and get the horses moving while his partner riding shotgun takes aim and beats back the enemy.
Now consider this in your spiritual life. You have friends that you trust with certain information. You tell them your secrets and hope that they will hold them dear without judgment or violation. In times of trouble, these are the same friends you call and expect to have your back – to ride shotgun.
In recent days, I have had to face hurdles I have never and would never have imagined – on physical, spiritual, mental, financial, and cosmic levels. There were days when I didn’t think I would make it and other days when I didn’t care to try. Mostly, I was feeling like a martyr-mom and a failure to my unborn son. I questioned my choices in a life mate and parenting partner. Trying to build something with someone else had caused a lot of my life to crumble. My unwillingness to admit certain things in the beginning of my pregnancy had put me in a bind closer to the end. I’d gotten caught up on what would come next and how to pull myself out of the hole I’d found myself in. More still, I wondered just how the heck I was supposed to build a different kind of legacy for my son when it seemed all I had to work with were the same old tricks, bricks and concrete. Yet, through it all I had those folks who rode shotgun…sometimes cruising along with me as my car was in neutral and I unconsciously rolled forward nodding off at the wheel.
When the assailants of depression, regret, procrastination, self-doubt, fear, bitterness, resentment, and disloyalty started to take form these beautiful souls pulled out the heavy artillery and got to work (because sometimes beating back my enemies – real and spiritual alike – required more than a shotgun). On several occasions, they saw something coming before I did – recognizing a sound in my voice or a shift in my energy. The assailant was trampled and long gone before I was even aware there had been a fight! Do you have those kind of people riding shotgun for you?
Who’s riding at your right hand? Is it time to change companions? Is the same person riding with you in every situation, or do you have specialists who play look-out far better in some terrains than others?
Consider that I have about five or six people on my Spiritual Security Council. Depending on where I’m headed or what I need determines who’s going to get the first phone call – or who is more likely to call shotgun before I can even get to my phone. In fact, allow me to take this time to say a special thank you to Malu Fairley (aka Freedom Jones), KJ, Jakey, Keisha, CJ Williams, and I. Belinda Lee for all your Love, Light and support. You’ve all been a great inspiration to me in these last few years – and especially in my growth during these past months. You’ve never hesitated to give of your time, your talents, your energy or even your personal space.
And you know I am always armed at the ready to go to bat with and for you. “Shotgun!” And to everyone else reading this, I pray you would be so blessed as I am.