The following is an edited excerpt from a chapter in my yet to be published manuscript ...and I dedicate this to my faithful companion .
"The word companion is said to have it’s roots in the latin
'cum – pane', or 'with bread', meaning two or more sharing bread(meals) on their journey together. "
The Society of Jesus(The Jesuits) was originally called “The Company of Jesus." Some have suggested that this name comes from St. Ignatius roots in the military (company) and the Jesuits were known as “soldiers of Christ.” But the Jesuits thought of themselves as “companions” of Jesus being broken and being fed by Jesus on their journey together. Jesuits are well known as ones who share in their journey as partners and friends of Jesus with all they encounter. Maybe it had to do with that they were sharing in the “bread of Christ”. ....
...The term companion implies intimacy, mutual unconditional dedication and love. In some dictionaries the definition includes examples of spousal relationships to demonstrate the lifelong commitment. In the Catholic Church , and many religions, marriage is a “sacrament”, a consecrated relationship. When one speaks of having a companion we automatically associate that this relationship has a special connection with a bond that exceeds that of all other relationships. This bond doesn’t need words to be said to affirm that this relationship , as this association is a spiritual one with those involved. Those "companions" know that they are called together for a purpose that is greater than themselves as individuals.
There are all different kinds of companions who join us on different kinds of journeys. Companions can be found in spouses, religious congregations, intimate friends, companies, organizations and any group of two or more with a common mission. But I believe that core qualities that qualify the relationship to be that of a “companion” are for the relationship to be:
* One with a synergistic mission (a common single purpose objective or essence) of the duo or group
* Intimacy – mutual trust and unconditional respect and love,
* Collaborative – true sharing and giving without want or desire of return to help achieve the common good.
I have a very special companion. He has the uncanny ability to sit and listen to me. If I complain about this or that, he listens intently. When I am lonely or sad he is quick to lend a comforting ear. If it is a time when I just want to explore and talk about the interconnectedness of the universe or the lack of spirituality in politics he pays attention to every word. He is quick to forgive my moodiness and just as quick to celebrate a laugh and smile. In the silence of the early morning hours he accompanies me in the solitude of prayer. Did you ever have a soul mate that mirrors your own feelings and perspectives? That’s my companion. When my daughters come home for an extended stay I must admit his enthusiasm is much more demonstrable than my own but he reflects what is in my own heart.
There have been sometimes when I have confided in him solely. He need not say a word to show his compassion. Just his presence is “compassion” enough. He makes no demands of me. We just enjoy being together. Early on in our relationship he was filled with youthful exuberance and would push the behavior envelope but we learned to adjust to each other. He is loyal to me to a fault. I have no doubt that he is a spirit sent by God .He is companion in every sense of the term. Patient friend, confidante, collaborator, protector, faithful and supportive. His spirit is more authentic than mine. We are all creatures of God and this creature is a blessing to me and all he encounters. He is my true companion. He is a Labrador Retriever. His name is Dylan Valentine. Yes, and we do share our food, mine for him and some of his for me!"
For my dear friend and companion Dylan Valentine who left this world after 12 wonder-filling years on May 28,2009( and for all faithfull companions.)
Though I miss him his spirit remains. I thank him for his unconditional love.
I am not there
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.
- - Mary Elizabeth Frye