WE NEED to be strongly reminded of this basic truth about ourselves. We tend to ignore it. Especially when we think that we are already grown-up and mature, well endowed with talents and resources, and enjoy a great sense of independence, we have to pound it hard on our mind and heart that we, in fact, would need accompaniment all the more.
We have to debunk the idea that accompaniment is needed only by babies and little children, and by some persons with special needs. True, these persons need the basic accompaniment of the physical and emotional type. But otherwise, we all need accompaniment in all stages of our life, because accompaniment is not only in the physical and emotional aspects.
Accompaniment should be exercised in the higher and more important aspects of our life — mental, psychological, moral and spiritual, etc. In these aspects, we can never say that our need for it would already be fully satisfied. In fact, the older we get, the more experienced and accomplished we are in our life, the more would be our need for accompaniment.
And that’s simply because the challenges and trials we face as we get older and more accomplished become more subtle and complicated. And we always need others to face them. We need all kinds of help. Woe to us if we are left only to ourselves to face all of the challenges and trials in life.
No man is an island, a 17th century English poet, John Donne, said it well. It means that we do badly when isolated from others and need to be part of a community in order to thrive. The basis for this assertion is that we as persons are meant to enter into relation with others all the time. We are not only individuals. We all belong to the family of humankind.
So we have to realize that that we need to be accompanied always be others as well as to accompany others. There’s both an active and passive side of this need of ours for accompaniment. If we do not feel that need yet, then it is about time that we develop an abiding sense of that need.
Let’s remember that this need is not something biological only, or physical. It is in the higher level, that is, in the area of our moral and spiritual need for accompaniment, that we would need to make a deliberate and conscious act of our will to stir up that need in us. In the end, we need to ask for grace to make that need always felt and addressed to in the most important aspects of our life — the moral and the spiritual.
This will require some training for this purpose, and that training in its turn will also require some basic dispositions. We need to be humble and simple for that need to come and develop in us. Otherwise, we won’t feel that need.
We have to acknowledge that our life has very complex and complicated aspects that need to be addressed adequately. The development and refinement of virtues to make us more human and later on more Christian would simply demand help from others. Let’s remember that our humanity and Christianity are always a work in progress. We can never say we are human enough or Christian enough.
And especially when we have to give accompaniment to others, we need to be tough not only physically or emotionally, but also psychologically, morally and spiritually, because definitely we will have to bear the burden of the many complicated issues and problems that we will unavoidably encounter along the way.
Let’s hope that this business of accompaniment becomes a common and universal concern and that we would know how to go about it, both in its passive and active aspects!/PN