. Be caring
Ask not what a friend can do for you. Ask what you can do for a friend.
The two cornerstones of friendship are kindness – and care.
Here’s a lovely story by Father Theophane about the spiritual value of kindness and caring:
There’s a monk there who will never give you advice, but only a question. I was told his questions could be very helpful. I sought him out.
“I am a parish priest,” I said. “I’m here on retreat. Could you give me a question?
“Ah, yes,” he answered. “My question is: ‘What do they need?”
I came away disappointed. I spent a few hours with the question, writing down answers, but finally I went back to him.
“Excuse me. Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. Your question has been helpful, but I wasn’t so much interested in thinking about my parish during this retreat. Rather I wanted to think seriously about my own spiritual life. Could you give a question for my own spiritual life?”
“Ah, I see, the monk said. ” The question is, ‘What do they really need?'”
In order to care for another person, we need to walk in their shoes, and consider what we could do to make life easier for them. Then do it.