Etymology is fascinating in how it connects us to our origins. The word companion derives from the Latin ’com’ (with) + ‘panis’ (bread). The root meaning of the word is ‘one that you eat or break bread with’. Adding the suffix -ship to the word changes the meaning; companion-ship speaks to the state, or condition between the companions, and functions likewise for all sorts of words… craftsman… citizen… relation… friend…
The -ship is immaterial, a quality of attachment, held in place by will. Our closest connections are still delicate feats of engineering.
When we take these connections for granted, feeling entitled to them or that they’re something we own, we miss the boat. The -ship capsizes… abandon -ship… a ghost-ship adrift.
The -ship sails for those who know the ropes. It offers safe passage to those who are onboard to weather the storms, chart past voyages, and navigate new territories. Giving shelter to the ones that orient to the shifting seas.
“…Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night."
(Arnold, Mathew. Dover Beach. 1867)