Are you whole?

Chaplain’s Corneroliver edwards

Padre Oliver Edwards

In ancient Rome, actors were described with a word we may find familiar for a different reason: they were called “Hypocrites”. Today we use this word to describe people who present one face or appearance to you but present a different one to others. This type of living is not viewed well by anyone – nobody thinks that living as a hypocrite is a good idea.

Yet, it is very common. It has been said that we all have three lives. Our public life, our private life, and our secret life. Public is what people who don’t know you see. It’s the clothes you wear; how you carry yourself; the car you drive. Your private life is what your friends and family see – how you live; how you interact with others; your habits and so on. Your secret life is who you are on the inside – what really motivates you; what mistakes you are prone to; what you do when nobody is watching. The more differences these three lives have from one another, the more “disintegrated” a life you will live.

Living a disintegrated life is not fun. It’s not good. It involves secrets, deception (both of yourself and others), and it’s just plain hard work to keep these three worlds from bumping into each other. Spilling over. And when they do, that’s when life gets messy.

However, life does not have to be this way. You don’t have to accept the pain that comes from living a disintegrated life. You can integrate your three lives, make them more consistent, more homogenous. And when you do, you will find the benefits, the blessings, the comfort, and the security that comes with it will far outweigh anything you may lose from whatever secrets you were keeping.

Religions call this wholeness – living an integrated life “holiness” I hope that takes some of the mystery out of the word for you. To the Hebrew people, wholeness was an element of “Shalom” – true, real peace. I want to encourage you to embark on a journey to wholeness, integration of all three areas of your life. It will involve some hard work. It will involve examining what you believe – your ethics, your values, and what has the most meaning for you. It may involve examining your religious roots, or considering your relationship to the spiritual maybe for the first time in your life. The big questions are big for a reason – your answers to the big questions will shape your life and lead to greater integration, greater wholeness. There is a reason why in surveys, spiritual people in general report higher levels of satisfaction, health, happiness, resilience and relational connection. Because they are on an intentional journey towards wholeness.

There is never a bad time to start this journey. Why not today? And if you were moving this way but maybe got distracted or taken off track by a crisis or trouble or something else (and in 2020 we have had a LOT of those!) decide today to get back on track. What seemed like big deals yesterday may well begin to shrink in the rear view mirror as you move towards living a whole life.

oliver.edwards@forces.gc.ca