My friend Rolf Holmquist is a chaplain and lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. He has a motto: “Develop and use your resources when you’re feeling strong so they’ll be there when you aren’t.”
He explains how often his comrades have a single resource in their lives—usually their significant other. He describes these people as if they’re walking on a tightrope. If the stressors of life or combat put too much strain on their single resource, the relationship can end. Their single rope breaks. They feel they have no one to turn to who really knows them. They fall.
In these desperate times, people could still seek out a counselor or reach out to a friend or family member they were once closer to. But in the chaplain’s experience, people struggle to activate inactive relationships in their greatest moments of need.
The chaplain’s mission is to inspire and motivate people to cultivate their social support systems now—when things seem more or less okay. To not rely on a tightrope, but to put enough ropes below their feet that they create a net.
I’ve applied the chaplain’s advice to my life by rekindling relationships with friends, family, mentors, and counselors. If I ever get sucker-punched by life, these are the people I’ll want as my net.
I am deeply grateful for the chaplain’s wisdom. I hope you hear him too.
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