I Had His Six

I Had His Six

Serpent Heart- original painting by Susanne Iles

Serpent Heart- original painting by Susanne Iles


“In the military, “got your six” means “I’ve got your back.” The saying originated with World War I fighter pilots referencing the rear of an airplane as the six o’clock position. ... So, when someone tells you that they’ve “got your six,” it means they’re watching your back.”

I had his six. It was my job to watch his back and help keep him safe from harm. He had been deathly sick and was vulnerable. I had his back, but then I looked away. It was only for a moment, but it changed everything.

You see, years ago I made a blood pact with the angels promising I would protect him always. They asked me, and I agreed. He was supposed to be destined for "very important things."

Why did I agree? Once upon a time in a small town on the bay, my best friend was a little boy who saved me from frostbite. We shared a love of motorcycles and the Bard. When my dad passed away my best friend gave me a hug and quietly acknowledged my bewildered pain. He didn't stare at me uncomfortably in the school hallway; he acted on what he knew was right. 

We've been friends for decades.

I didn't mean to change the pact; I certainly had no intention of ever crossing the angels. Contrary to popular belief, angels are not cute, winged babies floating on fluffy clouds. They are powerful forces to be reckoned with. As strong as I am, I am not infallible. I had other friends and family to protect, creative projects on the go, a life started from scratch and so much more. Things began to unravel and I stuck to the pact despite the frayed edges. After uncountable hurts, unheeded warnings, and personal loss, I had become exhausted and felt the need to avert my gaze, just for a moment.

Like John O'Donohue once wrote, "Real friendship or love is not manufactured or achieved. Friendship is always an act of recognition." Our friendship always ran deeply because we recognized each other on so many levels. 

Yeats says, "Man needs reckless courage to descend into the abyss of himself." When I stopped averting my gaze, I looked up and looked closely. I recognized the Darkness there and it frightened me.

Right now I need that reckless courage to descend into the depths of myself. There are treasures there in the darkness. I just need to find them. I can no longer protect others until I learn how to protect myself and nurture my own spirit. I need to pursue my passions with wild abandon so that I can be free. 

I will never stop caring about those I hold dear. I had his six. I've thought about this very carefully and have decided to hand the protective torch back to the angels. They are mightier than I am. I am not turning my back on those I love, but I do need time to heal and grow stronger. 

In the meantime, I offer the following poem to my Orev, my friends, and family and my Wild Ones (that's you!). This is for you when you need healing and strength in your life. I'm not going anywhere and am here for you, BUT your true power, strength, and protection comes from inside YOU. (You've got this)

A Blessing, written by John O'Donohue from his beautiful book "Anam Cara."

May you recognize in your life the presence, power and light of your soul.

May you realize that you are never alone 

that your soul in its brightness and belonging

connects you intimately with the rhythm of the universe.

May you have respect for your own individuality and difference.

May you realize that the shape of your soul is unique,

that you have a special destiny here

that behind the facade of your life there is something beautiful,

good and eternal happening.

May you learn to see your self with the same delight,

pride and expectation with which God

sees you in every moment.