Choosing the Right Co-pilots

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On Friday, one of my dearest friends got married. The wedding was in Twin Falls, ID and so I filled up my car with incredibly talented, mutual friends to road trip up for the event. It was wonderful and we were all filled to the brim with love and friendship and joy. Then we loaded the car up on Saturday for the drive home. On the way, we hit some ice and slid off the road.

To put all your fears to rest, we were incredibly blessed. No one was injured, we didn’t even get whiplash, and there was minimal damage to my car. By all intents and purposes, it wasn’t a major life event, just a delay on the way home. But the experience has made me reflect a lot.

As my tires lost traction and we began to fishtail, I will never forget the response I got from everyone in the car. The women in the back were calm and focused. And my co-pilot gently reassured me and coached me through what I should be doing. “You’re doing good. [pause] Try to straighten it out. [pause] Keep pumping the brake.”

There wasn’t any panic in her voice, although she probably was anxious. There wasn’t any judgement or criticism, just reassurance and reminders. And in that moment, that was exactly what I needed to navigate a difficult situation I’d never been in before.

As soon as the car came to a stop in the snowbank, their first response was to make sure everyone was okay, that I was okay. We all took a minute to collect our thoughts, and then they threw their shoes on and got out to push the car and see if we could get it out of the ditch. (Unfortunately I had no traction on my back tires and was going to need a tow.) Long story short, these two incredible men pulled over around the same time and towed us out with one of their trucks. I was so humbled and grateful for their help and will always be impressed with how much they took the parable of The Good Samaritan to heart.

Because of their help and what I believe were some major blessings from God (seriously, thank you to the mothers and fathers who said their prayers this week!), we drove home and went about our lives with barely a delay. But even beyond that help and all the blessings, I think I would be a lot more shaken up had I gone through the same experience with another group of people.

When someone says they’re choosing a partner or a co-pilot, I think we automatically jump to choosing a significant other, and there are certainly connections between what I learned on Saturday and choosing a spouse, but if I stopped there I would be missing out on a much wider set of implications. Co-pilots are roommates, co-workers, friends, business partners, counselors, mentors, family members, and so many others.

It became all so clear to me in those slow-motion seconds on I-84 that who we associate with and experience our difficult moments with matters. It impacts the journey and it impacts the outcomes. Someone else at the wheel would likely need a completely different reaction from his/her passengers, and so, in a way, this life is a quest to find people who complement you and whom you complement. And when you find your people, don’t let them go. Foster those relationships and support them however you can, because when you have your “Jesus Take the Wheel” moments, in whatever form they may come, those are the people you want in your life.

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