Monday's letter brought a wave of response, therefore I think the truth of caring friendships needs some more teaching, and certainly we Christians need to learn and sincerely emulate the compassion of Christ.
One man known far and wide as a gifted speaker briefly noted:
"I suppose a true friend could be defined as one who sincerely cries in your behalf."
Brief with a world of meaning and I immediately thought of the tears of Christ in the garden, as the song states, "He had no tears for His own griefs, but sweat drops of blood for mine." Yes, this truth is marvelous. The depth of His grief is stated in Lu 22:44
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Here is longer, but equally helpful comment on friendship that cares:
"Certainly I was one of those who felt they failed a friend at the end of their life. I was just a baby Christian when I found out that another woman, a mother of three was dying of cancer. Looking back I realize I had never grieved my own father's death when I was only 10. Death was something to flee from, not face. Over the years confessing my anger with God over the loss of my dear daddy, plus loosing countless friends has brought me to go beyond my weakness and able to minister to the sick, dying and grieving. God even allowed me to witness to my father-in-law and come to Christ one week before his death. So if a person fails to find strength to minister to the sick and dying, God may yet grow them up to that point later on. Sorry for the ramblings. Your letter reminded me how God can turn weakness into ministry, to HIS glory."
In the Christian realm many need to do as this saintly sister has done and grow into Christ compassion, to release what is repressed due to personal pain and dare to care. Still others like many pastors etc need to visit with Jesus in the prayer closet and ask Christ to remove the calluses that we have permitted to act as armor around our heart to avoid the awful pain that may come with caring. Still others need to get over ourselves and care for others. A song has it, "I was near to despair when He came to me there" and we need to willing to be the vessel used by the Lord to go to hurting people, not with an armful of things, but with a heart filled with care.
In time of great danger David prayed for God's care and mentions that over the years he had cared for others when he wrote in Ps 56:8:
Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?