We all need Companions on the Journey
For most of my journey, I have been fine going it on my own. I embraced the rugged, American ideal of the John Wayne figure heading west and being an independent source of strength for himself and others. I, like most men, felt like I was to set aside my wants and desires and embrace a life of toil and pain alone. Yet as I get older and pursue and fulfill more and more of my dreams, I am realizing my need for others.
If nothing else, a fruit of this pandemic has awoken in us an understanding of the value of belonging, friendship, empathy and simply the physical presence of other people. In our silos, we are living contrary to the wisdom of Thomas Merton, who wrote the book, No Man Is an Island. We are experiencing firsthand the pains that stem from not being able to reflect the fact that we are made for community because we are made in the image of a Triune (three person) God. As an introvert, I love time to myself and dread most social functions, but I have noticed with time that life is dull and less vibrant without the quirks, perspective and insights of others.
I play the expert in session from time to time when it is required of me, and sometimes I find myself beginning to believe that I have all the answers. Yet there was a restlessness within me. It made me seek out spiritual guidance, life coaching and therapy to assess for the problem. Most of my interactions have been bringing forth things I have known but have been avoiding about myself. I was proven to be the expert of my own longings and life. But there is a realization that I could not have come to these conclusions alone or without the specific insights or affirmations of those God had placed directly in front of me. This is nothing new, either. The history of the Church is composed of men and women who guided, encouraged, inspired and sometimes fought with one another to achieve great things (Peter and Paul, Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross, John Paul II and Mother Teresa, JRR Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, St. Monica and St. Augustine, St. Francis and St. Clare, St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier, to name a few.) . These companions along the way were of utmost importance to me, and not only did they chip away and clarify what was inside of me, but encouraged and pointed me in the direction of resources and ways of viewing things that were outside of me.
I know seeking help can be difficult. We have to be intentional and are limited in our options. Today I want to encourage you to find ways to responsibly reconnect with your tribe. Find the voices that you need to speak into you, and in turn you can speak into and share your journey. I am grateful for those I have found recently, and humbled to be reminded that if I am to be a saint and the man that God intends me to be, and achieve the great heights of holiness He desires for us all, I need companions to journey alongside.