October 6, 2015
As a Companion, I have experienced many conversations with strangers, those in physical and emotional need who visit Plymouth. Many seek sanctuary, rest, some coffee and food. Many also want to engage in conversation, which they get precious little of during their daily struggles.
Craig Rennebohm established a simple principle to guide companioning. Recognizing that I am a human being, and the one I am engaging is also a human being, we can then move forward together as equals in understanding each other’s story at that moment. The Holy Spirit then gently leads us in exploration. All of us have a deep need to be recognized, heard and valued. Those I encounter frequently are grateful and thankful for having an opportunity to talk. And I am blessed to have a stranger listen and respond attentively to me.
There are occasions when I am unable to fully understand what someone is communicating to me. Yet even among people fraught with mental illness, there are glimmers of ways we are able to connect. God and faith frequently comes up in discussion; I think because those in extreme need recognize a visceral need for the divine.
Yet, my conversations do not always end on an upbeat note. One man leaving Plymouth told me he was “returning to his deep, dark hole.” Companioning on a given Sunday can be a mix of both joy and pain. The issues we all deal with in life are complex, confusing and at times hopeless. Over time, I have come to believe that we are all image bearers of the divine. Those moments when we recognize a spark of that truth overwhelms the darkness and suffering that accompanies us. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5
I invite you into the light of our Companion Ministry. Join a Companion Conversation after church, Sunday, Oct. 11 in Room 321, to get information about the program. A Companion training takes place 9 am to 12 pm, Saturday, Nov 14, at Plymouth. You may also reach out to June Hayakawa-Fung in the office to join or to ask any questions. –Don Castle