By Deaconess Carole Terkula, Ministry Associate at The Lutheran Foundation
At the end of February, I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop on “The Companionship Movement: A Practice of Presence” by Pathways to Promise. The workshop focused on developing relationships with others who may be experiencing isolation and suffering for a variety of reasons and supporting them in a compassionate way. Little did I realize then how timely this information would prove to be in these days of COVID-19!
The Companionship model is intended for face-to-face interaction; however, I’ve been contemplating over the past week or so how one could implement the principles learned and apply them during this time of COVID-19 self-seclusion. I have discovered that much of what I learned is relevant and applicable to our current state of physical isolation in which many people’s mental well-being is affected by an increased level of anxiety stemming from uncertainty and fear.
The principles of Companionship are rooted in our natural capacity to be sensitive, concerned, compassionate, and caring. Therefore, we are still able to be a Companion to another even though we may not be able to have intimate face-to-face gatherings or discussions. Here are three Companionship practices we can all apply:
Please take a moment and think of someone you know in your church, neighborhood, family, or circle of friends who might be feeling the stress of prolonged isolation at this time, and then consider how you might be able to “walk alongside” that person in a caring way by implementing the Companionship practices mentioned above via a phone call, text, Skype, or Facetime message.
For more information about Pathways to Promise Companionship Movement, please visit www.pathways2promise.org.