By Tim Gale
Here at Taller we are asked to hold a lot in our hands; the sticky palms of energetic children of the parents we accompany, heavy stories and hearts. Somewhere along the way I got it mixed up that I was the only one alongside the clients holding their heart. In a gentle reminder of humility, I was reminded by my boss that the people who pass through the doors of Taller de Jose have been walking on their journey before we have known them, and will continue to do so even after they leave. In order to do so I must humble myself knowing I am but a small character in their stories.
Humility continues to be at the center of my work. It allows us to step back and recognize this work is relational, and cannot flourish when we focus on only ourselves. Constantly, I am brought low in honor at how much I have to learn from the people that I have been designated companion. They dare me to defy who is the recipient and who is the provider. Accompaniment continually asks me to clear my expectations of any given relationship and accept the gifts that are bestowed upon me.
In order to be a compañerx we need to hold our hands open both in a gesture ready to give and also in one to receive, because there may be days where they are accompanying us instead. I have had clients ask about my family in California during the fires this past year, others who have offered words of encouragement to me as I continue to learn Spanish, and others still who bring in small gifts like decorative pencils or food in appreciation.
Going forward I hope to remember that even without the label of compañerx, I will be a compañerx to each person I encounter and let them do the same, with hands wide open.