on a mission to embody grace and compassion in all relationships

Riding Shotgun

This is the seventh in a series on My Faith Journey, and #27 in the series Lessons from My Father.

ri·ding shot·gun

To ride shotgun is to sit in the front passenger seat when riding in a car or other vehicle. It is also used to mean giving actual or figurative support or aid to someone in a situation or project, i.e. to “watch their back.”

My father (Lewis), and my mother, (Martha Lou), and my step mom (Jimmie Ruth) were riding shotgun in the car with me today.

This was happening even though all three are no longer living on this earth.

I took the day off from work to tend to some important family business in Birmingham, Cullman, and Jasper on this ninth day of May, 2011.

As I drove, I turned on one of my Pandora radio stations that plays old Christian hymns.  It took me back to my childhood and the early years of my faith development.  I began to sing out loud.  The words to songs I had not sung in decades flowed out of my mouth.  Harmony filled the car.

Don’t worry, I don’t mean my Father, Mother, and Step Mom were physically with me.  But their influence in my life certainly was.

I could hear their encouragement, “You can do this Malcolm.  Thank you.  We are with you.  You are doing the right thing.  You are not alone.”  Tears streamed down my face and my God it felt good to have a wet face and the company to witness it.

How about you?

Have you felt the presence of positive people in your life during difficult days?

Are you aware that you do not have to do this, whatever “this” is, alone?

Good, because even if the people don’t show up when you need them most, the Spirit who created you is as close as every note you sing, every breath you take, and every tear you share.

Thanks be to God.




  1. kathy thomson

    I loved this entry. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Charles Kinnaird


    This is a wonderful example of what we say in the Apostles’ Creed: “I believe in the communion of saints.”

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