I’m not a big fan of aggressive, military analogies in work or life, but there’s one saying that I do find myself using again and again.
In the trenches. As in, we battled side-by-side in the trenches.
It captures the sense of closeness that comes from facing a threat or a crisis together. Of working together to overcome a challenge – and let’s face it, if you work in public relations that’s part of the job.
It can apply just as well to friendships.
While the past year has been one of the most creative and memorable in my life, it hasn’t been without its ups and downs. Difficulties and doubtful moments.
There have been a number of people in the trenches with me, including my dearest friends, and I am grateful to each one of them.
One friendship has grown from a tender seedling to a sturdy gum tree and it’s happened because we were both in the trenches at times due to different challenges.
He’s been with me every step of my journey post-redundancy – regardless of how much distance there was between us as I travelled the world.
He has shared my greatest joys and successes, and been there for the moments when I’ve wobbled or stumbled.
Always one to expect me to pick myself up, he’s asked the pointed questions and challenged me with different viewpoints. He’s provided a comforting safety net bound together with friendship that’s unconditional and judgment-free.
At some stage, we realised that we no longer needed to preface opinions with the sort of disclaimers that slip into modern conversation to stop misunderstanding and offence. I’m not saying… I don’t mean…
Being with someone during difficult and vulnerable moments can forge deep bonds of trust, understanding, respect and love.
Among many things I’ve learned from him this year, he’s taught me how to spot real compliments. Compliments with real meaning and substance.
They’re like glittering fragments of diamond amid the muddy platitudes that slosh around our world today.
Fabulous. Beautiful. Creative. Thoughtful. Inspiring.
This is the kind of praise he could expect to receive for the quality of his singing and acting.
Yet when I watched one of his proudest performances on video recently, he found a real compliment in the fact that I asked him not to fast-forward because I wanted to see it all.
There’s a saying about friends coming into your life for a lifetime, a season or a reason.
So many times this year it’s felt like this friendship came into my life when it did for good reason.
There’s no question that this past year has been an incredible season for two creative people to nourish and replenish our lives.
In the trenches, this man – and yes, he is fabulous, beautiful, creative, thoughtful, and inspiring – has become part of my family.
On New Year’s Eve, he gave me a scarf that had belonged to his mother. She quietly passed away 18 years ago and they found her on Christmas Eve.
My friend said very little as he handed the strip of silk to me and yet, this precious gift said so much.
A real compliment. Friendship: life membership.