700 words on why friendship and connection matters

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Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Nausea and vomiting aren’t pleasant symptoms. 

It is 2am in Kuala Lumpur and from my hotel room on the 33rd floor, I have one of the best views in the city of the Petronas Twin Towers. But this only serves to remind me that I am thousands of kilometres from home and how alone, unwell and scared I feel.

What I had been most paranoid about happened so insidiously. The offending food wasn’t served at street market or in a questionable location as I had been so overly careful.

But it happened and it hit me so suddenly.

I was starting to get concerned. Why wouldn’t you? If you were medically trained and an acute care expert — I was losing more fluid than I could replace. I was dizzy, tired, feverish and my mind was racing and starting to get the better of me.

I don’t know how it happened but between bracing myself around the toilet bowl and collapsing unto my bed, I fell asleep.

The friends that I’d travelled with to the conference were concerned. Airell, in particular felt my pain as he’d been in the same place before.

With kindness and concern, Airell made sure I was okay. Supplying me with antibiotics, anti-nausea medication and an electrolyte solution, he gave me the reassuring advice that I’d be on the mend.

 It was what I needed. 

Kindness, compassion and comfort.

That night, I was well enough to accompany Airell and Nyi out for dinner and they asked me to snap this picture.

Airell and Nyi from the Albany Old Boys Football Club. Photo by @thehealthygp

 In a sign solidarity, Airell and Nyi were both wearing their Albany Old Boys Football Club T-shirt as the team was playing their first game without them.

But this soccer team, means much more than a Tuesday night game and few beers after. As I learned, it is a weekly source of connection for 15 men from diverse backgrounds and social circumstances. The team is an extended family for some and provides encouragement, support and a good old Aussie reality check for its members.

Human connection is essential for life and health. Without it, our lives are less bright, uninteresting and as research shows, shorter.

This meta-analysis showed that those with adequate social relationships have a 50% greater chance of survival than those that do not and this is comparable to the effect of obesity and physical inactivity.

 The real word translation of this research is this:

If you aren’t connected socially, your chances of dying early are likely higher

Friendship

God has really spoken to me about cultivating my friendships. If I were to be honest, I have been superbly successful in many areas of my life but the one area that I have neglected is maintaining and growing my friendships.

I haven’t taken my own advice to “live intentionally” around this area and the excuses are plenty — busy career, three young boys, growing a great marriage and intentionally caring for myself.

The times that I have felt most alive have always been shared with friends and I believe there is road map for finding your tribe and those whom you should follow and cultivate deeper friendships with.

Your life and path will be fortunate, favoured and prosperous if you find friends such as these:

Friends who are living open-book lives. Lives of integrity, far from wickedness and depravity. Friends whose advice and counsel has developed from growing deep wells of wisdom and understanding. They willingly add to your life and with them you feel safe, loved and understood.

Friends whose lives are on the path of blessing and helping to make the world a better place. They contribute to others and their lives go from strength to strength and are not heading towards a dead end. Their mistakes and bad judgement have only been bumps in road that have forged their good character and strong resolve. And they love you despite your your failures and imperfections.

Friends who build you up and can be counted upon as confidants. Their words are encouragement when you need it and correction when you’ve wandered. Gossip and ridicule are not their currency. They are an uplifting and replenishing source of life.

Reference: Psalm 1:1


Friends such as these add flavour to your life, colour to your masterpiece, wisdom and accountability to your journey and side-splitting laughter to the moments that we will cherish forever.

Call or message to let a friend know today how much their connection has meant to you.

Social connection and growing deep roots of friendship is essential to life.

Thank you for reading and please subscribe if you’d like to hear more from me!

Live intentionally

Love relentlessly

Enjoy your health!

Dr. Jonathan Ramachenderan
@thehealthygp

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