The buddy system is a foundational principle in recreational diving. At least it used to be. When I was first scuba certified twenty years ago, the buddy system was an expectation and a requirement. I was surprised when I boarded a dive boat recently and found people going it alone. Not only did they not have a buddy, but the diver operators even seemed to encourage them in their adventure.
Turns out that diving alone is much more commonplace in the sport today. After that trip I grabbed a copy of a local dive magazine with an article entitled, "Beneficial or Buzz-Kill? An honest look at the buddy-system." It listed the well-known benefits of diving with a buddy: safety, an extra set of eyes, learning and bonding. And then the "bummers": over-dependence, "stranger danger" (getting paired up with someone we don't know and lacks skill), and schedule conflicts.
I found these "bummers" resemble what we see in culture in general, and in many of our lives. We don't like the inconveniences of needing a partner or friend in life. It is difficult to find time to get together, people are not always like us, and I am good enough and skilled enough to do it on my own. So many of us choose to go at it alone.
But consider the importance of a buddy in life:
Safety. Life is hard, and we are not meant to live it alone. We all eventually face those moment in life when we need someone. On that day, you don't want to find yourself alone. But the decision you make today will impact who's around on THAT day.
An extra set of eyes. You will miss stuff in your life if you do not have someone looking out for you. We all have blind spots, and we depend on others to help us see more of our life.
Learning. Who will you learn from? I always desire to put myself around more experienced and skilled people I can learn from. You will always be limited if you are alone.
Bonding. "Did you see that?" That's the phrase I hear most when we get back on a dive boat. While I can have a very good experience viewing the underwater world on my own, it is only great when I can share it with someone. It makes it come more alive to me, and enriches them as well.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Who is your dive buddy in life? What makes them a "buddy"? How can you be a buddy to someone else?
What makes it difficult to find a dive buddy in life? Do you find it more of a benefit or a buzz-kill to life?
Who can you come alongside to improve their experience of life?
What step can you take TOday so that when THAT day comes that you really need someone, you won't find yourself alone?