The June 15, 2019 edition of the Globe and Mail carried a very compelling article by Dave McGinn on the benefits of friendship.  As I read this article I couldn’t help but think of Corpath and the value of deep friendships forged in our Corpath forums over the years.

Here are some of McGinn’s more salient points:

“Having strong social relationships was nearly twice as beneficial as physical activity when it came to decreasing your odds of dying young.  In short, suffering from loneliness was as bad for your health as being an alcoholic or smoking 15 cigarettes a day.  The benefits only increase as we age.” 

“People who valued friendships were always happier than those who didn’t.  It wasn’t until mid-life that the effects kept getting stronger and stronger.”

“Friendship quality predicted whether or not you have things like heart attacks or strokes over time.  Men overall all are a lonelier bunch – and thus at greater risk.  The biggest reason friendship is important for men’s health comes down to stress management.  Friendships for men reduce stress and that’s associated with better health over time.  Friendships exist to make us better.”

“Doing stuff together is quite different from bonding.  Close friendships require disclosure and reciprocity.  One of the issues preventing men from getting close to  other men is the cultural norms about vulnerability, which is at the root of disclosure.”

“Men in Canada are three times more likely to die from suicide than women.  Social isolation is a well-established risk factor for suicide and suicidal behaviour.”

“The quality of our friendships – what we feel comfortable sharing with our friends, and what we feel we have to keep to ourselves – has a tremendous effect not just on men’s well-being, but also on society’s.”

“Being a good friend requires vulnerability, but also empathy, curiosity, trust, a willingness to put someone else’s interests ahead of yours, to be there for someone in crisis to listen, to care.”

These secular insights into the benefits of friendship speak to the essence and value of Corpath.  As people of Christian faith we know God made us for relationship…with Him, and with one another.  That’s why our Corpath mission “to pursue excellence in business, in life and in spirit” resonates with God’s purposes for us.

Pursuing excellence in our personal lives surely means fostering deep, supportive friendships, a goal that is at the centre of the Corpath experience.

And Jesus modelled the way for us when it comes to deep friendships.  Consider these core aspects of His deep friendships.

1.       Proximity…Jesus always wanted to be with His friends – Jesus invited his friends to do life with Him.  Eat together.  Pursue God’s mission together.  Pray with them.  Tell them they were His friends.   He knew distance was the enemy of friendship.  He knew He had to regularly be with His friends Peter, James and John, and the other disciples and the women in His life.  He showed us why our Corpath relationships need to be nurtured through regular forum meetings and retreats.

2.      Parties…Jesus loved going to parties with His friends – Jesus had a very active social life.  He enjoyed times alone with his Father, but He balanced those private moments with intimate times of fellowship with His friends, and joyous social occasions.  His example reminds us that the Corpath experience is not just about deep sharing in our forum groups, but times of socializing on retreats, at education events and social evenings, enjoying good conversation, food and libations, just like Jesus did.

3.      Self-Disclosure…Jesus verbally shared His inner life with his friends – Jesus told His friends what was going on inside Him, what He was about, why He had come, and what He longed for concerning their lives.  In other words, Jesus got real personal with His friends.  He held nothing back.  He authentically self-disclosed His stuff with His friends.  He shared His sorrows, His joys and His deep experiences with His heavenly Father.  He modelled the way for our Corpath forums update times when we honestly share what’s happening in our personal, family and business worlds.

4.      Prayer…Jesus prayed for his friends – We know Jesus friends were really important to Him because He prayed for them.  He prayed for Peter.  He prayed for Peter, James and John.  He prayed for his disciples.  He knew that deep friendship without prayer was a big contradiction.  Because He cared deeply for His friends He prayed for them.  We often say that at Corpath “Christ is at the table.”  And because He is at the table and modelled the way for us, we pray for our Corpath friends during forum meetings, and hopefully between meetings.

A life well-lived, a life which honours God, is a life that pursues excellence in our personal world.  It is a life where we not only pursue an intimate friendship with God, but also an authentic, caring, reciprocal friendship with others who have linked arms with us on the journey of life.

This is true friendship. This is Corpath. This is the abundant life Jesus wants for us.

May your Corpath friendships be blessed by the one who makes good friendships possible.

Gord

Corpath Business Forums – www.corpath.ca