Yesterday I had the great privilege and honour to be part of a fantastic event. V!VA Pickering (Retirement Community) hosted a contest called "Friends Forever" where people could enter by submitting a story about a valuable friendship. Open to people 65+, participants had 250 words to tell a story which often encompassed a lifetime of memories. I was asked to be one of 3 judges. The hosts narrowed the submissions down to 9 and had us rate each story across several categories. We then came together and figured out a 'winner'. I have to say all of the stories were remarkable and it was not an easy job coming up with a winner.
We heard about friendships that were a lifetime long, some 50 or 60 years some less but as intense. Each story was unique, touching and special in its own way. The person who wrote it, read it and their friend was there to hear them read it. You could see how visibly touched people were - I think we often don't realize the impact we have on others and for some, their friend was their lifesaver.
The stories captured shared travel, moments of great happiness, shared experiences and in some cases, sadness. The common thread in all was not the specifics of what was shared, but what was underlying all of these great relationships - caring, love, compassion, being a confidant and lifeline, knowing each others needs and acting on it. One entrant said their secret was 'don't sweat the small stuff'' and really, when it comes to sustaining a lifelong relationship, that is likely the key.
People come in and out of our lives for many reasons. The ones that stay a lifetime are incredibly special. Finding one that will last a lifetime is truly a gift and all of the people yesterday, recognized the importance of what they had - Forever Friends.
I walked away feeling absolutely wonderful to have been part of such an event, and to being a 'witness' to such amazingly special stories. It really didn't matter who 'won' - they all won - they all had the best gift anyone could ask for - friends who will stand by you through thick and thin. The afternoon was inspiring and uplifting. Thank you V!VA Pickering! And congratulations Dianne and Lynne!