Companionship is at once both elegantly simple and profoundly difficult. Anyone can participate in companionship. Anyone can be a fellow human being who comes alongside another and in hospitality listens to that person’s dreams, hopes, and statements of faith. However, sometimes it is not so easy to avoid giving too much advice or to relinquish the lure of being a heroic helper.
As “helpers,” whether consciously or subconsciously, we often strive to affirm how impressive we are by comparing ourselves to the “poor person” in front of us whose troubles appear to be greater than our own.
But through companionship, we discover that embracing a community humanity, and developing a wider and deeper appreciation of the work of grace, lead us to an indescribable joy that surpasses any fleeting gratification that might come from being the heroic helper.
What is Companionship?
Companionship is a practice of presence a relationship responding to isolation and suffering and supportive of healing and recovery. Companionship welcomes the stranger, building a circle of care with individuals who are facing emotional and mental health challenges. Companionship is rooted in our natural capacities as human beings to be sensitive, compassionate and concerned.
There are Five basic principles of Companionship:
1. Companionship is a basic human relationship between two equals
2. Companionship is a response to suffer; it is not about “fixing it”
3. Companionship is a Public Relationship
4. Companionship aims for mutuality
5. Companionship recognizes our need for a circle of care and support