Maj Hjalmarson

oliver edwardsChaplain’s Corner

Padre Oliver Edwards

Every once in a while, it hits the news: the story of a door that almost never opens, the neighbours don’t know the person who lives behind it, and after a long while someone finally has cause to go inside, only to discover that the person who lives there has passed away… and nobody knew.

It’s a scary prospect, to think that a person could die that alone. Yet, the flow of the current in our society points to the reality that this is not going to get less common – it’s going to get more common as we live more disconnected lives.

The truth is for many of us, social distancing was a thing long before COVID. As the internet has become something that most find to be a necessity, and more and more of us have acclimatized to having a personal high speed access point to the majority of human knowledge at our fingertips, the priority of first-person meet-ups has been slipping for some time. More and more, it’s normal to go long periods without in-person social time.

But I’m not really talking about just visiting, or being present with others. Though those are worthy topics of discussion. I’m talking about having someone or some few people in your life who are more than acquaintances. More than work buddies or drinking buddies. Someone who cares about you. Someone who cares about your well-being. Someone who not only accepts you, but cares enough to want you to be your best self. Enough to spend the limited time they have in life on you.

See, there is no question that for most of us, being well, or even getting better requires another. Someone invested, someone who is willing to make sure things aren’t slipping… or hopefully things keep moving forward. If you’re working out, it’s easier with a buddy holding you accountable. If you’re looking to make a lifestyle change with regard to eating less, or drinking less, or gaming less, having a partner to check in with or to check in with you makes the going so much easier and the chances of attaining your goals go through the roof.

All of these things are attached to specific goals. But your whole life is bigger than that. “Life coaches” have become a recent phenomenon… why not look at forming “life partners”? Marriage is a thing that I am convinced was always meant to help provide one kind of channel for this idea.. amongst other things. It is lamentable that for so many, marriage is no guarantee of permanence, or of life partnership in the sense of investing in each other. Family too can be a means to build a relationship with someone who is invested in you, and you in them, but it is no guarantee. More is needed.

My encouragement to you this week is this: ask yourself, do you have a life partner? Don’t brush this off if you are married, or have a good sized extended family. Ask yourself if that person or those people really qualify. Do they know they are that to you? If not, take a step, grab a coffee with that someone, and talk about life. Talk about making a commitment to each other. Talk about what checking in looks like. What you want to be called out on. You may find people care more than you think, and can be so much more than what they are now. Relationships can go so much deeper when this is real for you both.

And if you’ve been running solo and kind of like it that way, or are starting from scratch for whatever reason, just get intentional. Put yourself out there. I don’t mean dating… just connect with people. Over hobbies, over interests, over helping others, volunteering, whatever. Use it as a bridge to meet people, and starting building something today… so that you have someone tomorrow.

oliver.edwards@forces.gc.ca