An accompanier is someone who can stand beside us on the road to freedom, someone who loves us and understands our life. An accompanier can be a parent, a teacher, or a friend. Accompaniers may also be therapists or people quite experienced in living.

Accompaniment is necessary in every stage of our lives, but particularly in moments of crisis when we feel lost, engulfed in grief, or in feelings of incompetence. The accompanier is there to give support, to reassure, to confirm, and to open new possibilities. The accompanier is not there to judge us or to tell us what to do, but to reveal what is most beautiful and valuable in us, as well as to point towards the meaning of our inner pain. In this way, the accompanier helps us to advance as we are, with our gifts and our limits.

The word “accompaniment” like the word “companion” comes from the Latin word cum pane, which means “with bread”. It implies eating together, sharing together, nourishing each other, walking together. The one who accompanies is like a midwife, helping us to come to life, to live more fully. The accompanier receives life also, and as people open up to each other, a communion of hearts develops. They do not clutch on to each other but give life to one another and call each other on to greater freedom.

~ from BECOMING HUMAN, by Jean Vanier


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