Enduring friendships change our lives for the better. Whether they begin in childhood or in retirement, sharing in someone’s life means supporting them through thick and thin. Enduring friendships start when two people realize their commonalities; friendships grow when two people share joys and sufferings, work and service. Sadly, the truest sign of enduring friendships come after death, when loving memories survive. Ask any caseworker or staff member at STVCC, and you will witness the beautiful friendships created through service. Clients come and go, but the memories and lessons they impart remain.
Relationships are the foundation of our work at STVCC. This is especially true at our Immigration Law Clinic. Immigration takes time, and in some cases, staff members work with clients for years. Over time, we come to share hope in a future life in America. In many ways, the relationships begin with service, but end in the realization of a shared dream. Clients often leave a lasting impression on our staff. We remember their hope, their courage to step into the unknown, and their desire to live a better life.
Each encounter with a client teaches new lessons about the world. In some ways, their memories become our memories. Because they often stretch for months at a time, Immigration Law cases help us learn to appreciate and care for our clients. We form shared memories from our discussions, our trips to the hearings, and our shared goal of citizenship. The memories we create take shape and settle in our hearts as enduring stories of friendship.
If life is a tapestry, stories are the thread. Every friendship and story draw together to form a beautiful image of life, laughter, and enduring memories. Yet as with every story, there comes an end. Recently, we received word that a previous client and good friend of ours passed away. As professionals we ask ourselves, ‘how can we mourn the loss of those we’ve served?’ The answer comes in our ability to remember their story. It comes in our love for our friends. Most importantly, it comes in a renewed desire to serve and inspire others as they inspired us.
At STVCC, we hear stories every day that inspire, challenge, and motivate us to continue serving. In return, the clients we serve bless us through their friendship. Even after death, the relationships we form and the friends we find endure. Each story becomes a part the tapestry of this organization. And every day, the memories of those we’ve served live on in our hearts as we carry their courage and hope for a better life into the world.