Having spent the last eighteen months establishing Green Heart Collective, founder Helen Redfern is reflecting on what really matters in life for her...and maybe her reflections may inspire you too to explore life with gratitude and curiosity.
'Friendship is one of life's greatest treasures.'
There are a lot of quotes out there about friendship, possibly because this one is true. Friendship is a treasure that should never be taken for granted.
I've been blessed with some amazing friends. Although it didn't just happen by chance. They didn't just fall into my lap. There's a lot of work that goes into creating a lasting friendship - a lot of time and energy and patience and understanding and being there. A lot of my friendships go way back to when our kids were young. Our kids have grown up together. We have grown up together. We've created bonds that cannot be broken along the way.
As a group of friends, we lost one of our precious tribe last year and it destabilised us for a while. We take our friends for granted, assume they will always be there when we need them. Joanne was the organiser, the one who defused tense situations, the one who got us to try new adventures, the one who had the ability to make us all laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves too seriously. When she died of cancer, we all grieved her loss, unable to comfort each other for a while, unable to meet up without her absence crushing our souls.
I need friends. I was going to write everyone needs friends but realised that I can't speak for everyone else. But I do. Even with great work colleagues and other like-minded activists and family members I love spending time with, I need friends. I got lost for a while there. I had no time for friends. I became isolated. In losing Joanne, I lost everyone. I didn't know how to relate any more and backed off from being too close to friends because I couldn't face that pain of losing any of them like we'd lost her.
Friends offer me the opportunity to be myself. They want the best for me. They have my back. That creates a special place of acceptance where I can ditch the pretence. I can be happy or sad, loud or quiet, just me.
It's fitting that International Friends Day 2022 falls on Saturday 30 July. I'll be celebrating friendship that day with my friends. We're attending Live Like 85, a tribute band festival of all our favourites - with a bit of karaoke thrown in! It's a particularly poignant event, organised for us by our fab friend who is no longer with us (physically anyway), organised before COVID struck and the event kept being postponed. So whether it ends up being a good event or not, it will be a good event because we are together. And together, we always make everything better.
Friendship matters. I don't want to be too busy for friendship any more.
Take a moment to think with gratitude about your friends. Find a way to reconnect with them. A good friend will be delighted to hear from you, however long it's been since you last got in touch.
And don't put it off. Don't wait until it's too late. Friendship is one of life's greatest treasures. Never forget that.
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