Not without companions...
I recently read a newspaper article about a woman who observed in herself how incredibly difficult it was for her to ask for help. Her washing machine was broken and she had to bridge the time of its repairs. Finally, she very hesitantly spoke to her neighbor. And? It was a joy for her neighbor to help her out! They drank tea with one another and had a conversation while the washing machine was running. This repeated itself in the following days and since then they have grown very connected, share many things with each other, and feel much enriched beyond the momentary emergency.
The author asks why it is so difficult for us to ask for help. Why do we think that we must manage everything by ourselves?
Those who hike the Rocky Mountains in the summertime will come upon signs that warn against traveling further on your own, for example at Moraine Lake: »It is legally required to hike from this point on in a group of five or more!« Here bears are on the prowl in search of food, often with their cubs. They tend to withdraw from a group of people in conversation, while a lonely hiker can unintentionally startle them and thus provoke them.
What applies to mountain tours in the truest sense of the word we can also apply to long, challenging stages of various kinds throughout our lives - it is not good to go them alone. We need accompaniment, companions, and people at our side. What God said after the creation of the first human being applies here as well: It is not good for the human being to be alone. Thus he decides: I will make him a companion who stands against him. (Gen 2, 18)
People who sojourn together through difficult times and who must face challenges, wait for one another, turn back for one another when necessary. Sometimes they grow beyond themselves in their fidelity and trustworthiness. Sometimes they are simply present and hold vigil with us. Yet, on occasion they also resist and contradict us when it is necessary and of vital importance. When a small bear appears before a group of hikers in the Rocky Mountains and some draw closer in fascination, the true companion shows himself or herself as the one who is not drawn along with the others, but who opposes them and makes it clear that the mother bear will not be far off and that they are placing themselves in danger if she thinks her cubs are imperiled.
We are created as individuals, but not alone for ourselves, but for others. We need one another, we complement one another and we enrich one another. That is the reality of humanity that the priest and lyricist Andreas Knapp would like to approach in this manner:
Approach to reality
not having grasped it
but being grasped by it
not merely understanding
but standing by what you are
not seeing through something
but simply seeing
thus we will really become
from: Andreas Knapp, Gedichte auf Leben und Tod, 2016
Vallendar, February 21st, 2019