Good Company

Good Company

Sometimes, it’s good just to have company.

I’ve heard myself repeating these words a lot recently—to myself, to some of you, to friends who are struggling. (“Ugh,” they say, “You don’t need to listen to me complain. I know you can’t do anything to fix this.” “No,” I reply, “but sometimes, it’s good just to have company.”)

On the surface, the words seem so simple, obvious, even mundane. “Sometimes, it’s good just to have company.”

A few years ago those words were said to me by my therapist. I was celebrating how well I’d handled a particularly challenging thing. “I thought about calling you last week as it unfolded,” I told her, “but I knew we had this session scheduled, and I had a pretty good idea of the kind of coaching you’d offer, so I just coached myself.”

As if not needing help were virtuous and doing it on my own were decidedly praise-worthy.

“Well, good. I’m glad you handled it well. And you could have called me. Sometimes, it’s good just to have company.”

We know that’s true, don’t we? Still, I needed the reminder. Even if a companion can’t fix a problem for us, or doesn’t have expert advice, and maybe even can’t think of a single comforting thing to say, it can still be encouraging, reassuring, calming not to be alone—to have a witness, a non-judgmental friend, a shoulder, a hug.

We experience it when we’re grieving, when we’re overwhelmed, and even when we’re celebrating sometimes. It’s what our Karuna caregivers often do—and what I do in pastoral care, frequently—as we sit or walk with someone, listening and bearing witness. It’s what I seek when I reach out to a friend via text, expressing frustration over a non-critical but annoying parenting situation. It may be what we seek in gathering with the UUCC community, regardless of worship topics or other programming—sometimes we just need the company.

And this week I felt that pull on Tuesday morning, having woken to the news of the Key Bridge collapse. I was in Savannah, visiting my mother, and I’d told my UUCC co-workers not to expect me at our routine Zoom check-ins. But that morning I logged in, feeling the need to be with Maryland companions, even though the disaster didn’t affect me directly.

“Sometimes, it’s good just to have company.”

So simple, so obvious. Perhaps even mundane. As are some of the very most important reminders in this messy, heartbreaking, fear-inducing human life.

Profound truths don’t have to be complicated. And you don’t have to face life entirely on your own.

With love,
Paige

2 Comments

  1. Gail Thompson

    I love your phrase. Not being participants, nor wanting to be, of social media, we have resurrected the small dinner party. I love to cook so quiet dinners where can hear each other and be in good company is wonderful. It is good just to have company.

  2. Norman D Hazzard

    Having recently lost my wife, Sylvia, I am well aware that it is good just to have the company of family and friends. Paige, you especially have been very supportive to us in our loss, and I thank you for that and for this essay on how good it is sometimes just to have company!

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