It’s a sad commentary that despite the many ways we have to connect and communicate with others so many people still feel isolated and alone. Some are in that place after wounds or efforts that didn’t bring fruit and even though they feel isolated and alone, they now choose to be alone rather than risk more hurt and disappointment.
Others are in a season of loneliness as a result of a change in their life or location. Sometimes a move, change in job, change in church, change in health, or a death brings about a loss of companionship.
Others still miscue on discovering companionship. It doesn’t happen in sound bite moments. It doesn’t happen in 280 character tweets or snapshot moments on Instagram or Facebook.
Companionship comes from a span of time spent with intentionality with another person where your conversation moves beyond the current topics of the day to risk unveiling your heart.
It can happen over long walks, time spent lingering over coffee or tea, unhurried moments on a front porch, or intimate moments around an open fire. It rarely happens unless we pause. It’s doomed to fail if we are only looking for what we can get.
It happens best when we are committed to another person’s highest good. It happens best when we do not set aside who we are at our core to simply please the other person.
We see it happening as Jesus walks with his disciples from one place to another. Sometimes Jesus is teaching a crowd, but sometimes it is only time spent intimately with a few or all of the disciples. Sometimes Jesus is feeding thousands and other times He is breaking bread with only them or washing their feet. They experienced Him in varied contexts and despite their failings, they were his closest companions on earth along with his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
Over time the disciples came to see the same truth and share it. Perhaps that is the secret to the deeper friendship of companionship.
It brings to mind Amos 3:3 (NKJV):
“Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?”
In spite of times and seasons where the Lord may pull us away from all that distracts us to be with Him alone, most often our lives are richer and healthier when we develop companions to walk with us. A companion can challenge us when we falter or drift away from truth and the highest good he or she believes for us. A companion will listen well, but not hesitate to speak what is needed.
Companions are easier to develop when we first have companionship with the One who will never leave or forsake us. Over and over again God reminds us through the Bible that He will not leave our side if we walk with Him. He is there when others cannot be for whatever reason. And if He is not there first, we are not as likely to know companionship.
How can we be committed to the highest good for another person if we do not have love? The Lord can demonstrate best what love is when we (like the disciples) spend time with Him in many contexts so that we come to share the same truth − His.
To know companionship is a gift of grace, grace received and grace offered.
“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
In the epilogue in the beautifully written book, Becoming Mrs. Lewis, by Patti Callahan, she writes a reminder to us about grace that applies well to our intentionality about companionship:
“Grace does not tell us how long we have in our life, or what comes next − that’s why grace is only given in the moment.”
Grace moments woven together one upon another opens the door to companionship.
“When we are securely rooted in personal intimacy with the source of life, it will be possible to remain flexible without being relativistic, convinced without being rigid, willing to confront without being offensive, gentle and forgiving without being soft, and true witnesses without being manipulative.”