Eltie sent me a link to the Ted Talks video titled, the Strongest Predictors of How Long You’ll Live. The video begins with a question, “So what does it take to live to 100 or beyond?” Julianne Holt-Lunstad, researcher at Brigham Young University, addressed this question in a series of studies of tens of thousands of middle aged people. She looked at every aspect of their lifestyle: their diet, exercise, marital status, how often they went to the doctor, whether they smoked or drank, etc. And then she and her colleagues sat tight and waited for seven years to see who would still be breathing. And of the people left standing, what reduced their chances of dying the most? That was her question. Social Integration and Close Relationships are the strongest predictors of a long and healthy life.
We all know the importance of community. It nurtures us, and provides us meanings and reasons to live. Although, longevity may not be our priority, the quality of life is something we all long for. Meaningful interactions with people around us on a daily basis will increase the well-being of individuals as well as of a community. In an urban setting, however, chances are that we have a rare opportunity to engage those we don’t know well. We tend to remain within our own boundaries – our family, close friends and a few neighbours if we are lucky.
Church has a distinctive role in terms of bringing different people together. By celebrating our unity and diversity, we can deepen our relationships and broaden our horizons. I think that’s what was happening in the Upper Hall last Friday: eating and playing together despite the language barrier and cultural differences. Our next Community Spirit will be on Friday, Feb. 16th at 5:30 – 7:30 pm with Olympic themed games. I hope you will join me for a fun-filled evening for your own sake, as well as for the welling-being of our community.