#21 - Kurdish Proverb: A Good Companion Shortens The Longest Road.
Reflections on experiencing life with the right people.
Proverbs on Blast is a newsletter of reflection on PROVERBS and the gems they offer for personal and professional growth. Posts are written by a learner on a quest for more wisdom (me). Please keep reading. Comment at the end. Share this post. Subscribe for more.
Everyone is on life’s journey, albeit moving at different paces. We all go through changing seasons. We also experience seasonal changes differently, which adds to the variations in our progress during our lifetime. Within the overarching journey of life, there are smaller journeys that we all must take. Common ones include the journey of the teenage phase, those of the young adult phase, midlife, academic, dating, marriage, parenting, health, financial, social, spiritual, professional, and several others. Some of these journeys are short; others are long. if we live long enough, each of us will get to experience the full mix of long, short, and moderate-miled journeys.
Whatever journey you’re on now or will take in the future, consider the general focus of this famous quote: “If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go with others.” I have both followed and disregarded the wisdom of this quote enough times to know that its counsel is tried, tested, true, and to be trusted.
If you were to take the quote seriously, you would need to journey with one other person, at least. In the choice of who to travel with on your journey, a Kurdish proverb offers the wise counsel that, “A good companion shortens the longest road.” In other words, boost your chances of traveling far by not journeying alone, but with a good companion.
What or Who Makes a Good Companion?
The answer to this question is wrapped up in the kind of journey that you’re on. If on a health journey, your choice of travel companion should include physicians. Preferably, specialists in your areas of need. Good physicians that are knowledgeable, patient, and patient-centered in approach. These are the kinds of companions that, however long or bumpy the journey, will help shorten and brighten the distance for you.
The same applies if on a spiritual journey. You want to make sure that your companion is a safe guide who has journeyed the path you’re on before or is on the same quest as you. Also, that the person is willing to see it through to the end and will stay the course.
Even the most well-planned journey is rarely smooth and anything can happen enroute. The weather may change. The road may become dangerous and impassable. Predators may be lurking. Bandits may appear. The elevation may rise or drop. Dead-ends and detours may derail solo travelers or discourage them from continuing. Those who travel with others may find the motivation from their companions to keep going. Or the additional perspective to spot easy-to-miss signs.
At the same time, traveling with others may be challenging. A companion may be the one to chafe at the difficulties of the journey and bring discouragement. They may be the ones that would slow you down. Yet, even with the likelihood of that risk, the Kurdish elders are clear that it is not helpful to go through life’s journey alone. The longest trips may need to start in solitude but are rarely enjoyed, or completed solo. What is key in preparations for trips is not just having a companion, but finding a good companion. Those are the ones that can help shorten and brighten long distances. And, often, the bumpiest too.
Most people know that it’s great to not travel alone. Yet, there is still a major challenge with finding a good travel companion. One that is the right fit for the road you must travel. You are aware that the road ahead of you is long, probably the longest road you will have to travel. You know that it will be a hard journey. But is the nearest person to you the most ideal travel companion because of proximity? Should you journey with the closest person to you because of the bonds of loyalty?
Many of life’s journeys are fraught with challenges. Who has the stamina to survive the long hours, adverse weather, and treacherous roads of your journey that you can choose to travel with you? Who has the right mindset to take in the realities of long, hard roads and will not take off midway from discouragement? Who can see and steer you in the direction of the lemon squeezer when life floods you with lemons enroute your journey?
As you contemplate the long journeys you must still take in life, here are pointers to 3 categories of people to consider as travel companions:
The Older and Wiser. People in this category have a lot to teach those who are willing to learn. A German proverb warns that “Old age is no protection against foolishness.” However, you will find the right older and wiser people in your family, neighborhood, organization, communities, church, and institutions around you. They may be slower in movement but they are not dull of intellect. They may not be current with the latest trends and technology but they have a lot of experience and wisdom that few may be able to afford in cash. Invite them to accompany you on your journey and you will start benefitting from their wisdom from the travel prep stage. Focus on enjoying the journey and getting to the finish line, and this class of travel companions will ensure that you get there. It’s why a Luo proverb from Kenya states that, “Alone a youth runs fast, with an elder slow, but together they go far.”
The Savvy and Humble. People in this category may be younger or older, but they know things that you may not. A Greek proverb says that “age brings experience, and a good mind wisdom.” Find someone with a good mind, whatever the age, and you will likely have someone who has high cognitive acumen, deep and varied vats of knowledge, and a healthy appetite for learning. They will freely and happily share what they know while maintaining an infectious openness to learn from you and the path you journey together. If there are lessons to learn, you will be able to harvest them in droves with such a companion. If there are blessings to be enjoyed, it is highly likely with such a person.
The Positive and Uplifting. Long journeys can be rough and tough on the mind, body, and spirit. With a companion who is positive and uplifting, you will not have to deal with grumbling, discouragement, foolish, and negative talk that have derailed or cut short many a journey of marriage, parenting, mentorship, among others. A positive and uplifting companion is likely to be humble, hardworking, understanding, persevering, and able to pull their weight. So much so that whatever adversity you encounter on the journey, you and your companion will be able to take it in stride and not fly at each other’s throats or jeopardize your safety.
A Wish For You
Again, we are all on one or more journeys at any point in time. According to the Kurdish proverb: “A Good Companion Shortens the Longest Road.” Whether the long road that lies ahead of you or you’re on now is a financial journey, spiritual, educational, health, social, or professional, what counts is not how far you have to travel, but who you have alongside you on your journey.
However tough or rough your journey is, whatever the distance you have to cover, my wish and prayer for you is that you find the right companions to shorten and sweeten your journey.
Do you have the right travel companions for the important journeys of your life? Also, what type of companion are you for the people closest to you on their own journeys?
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