There are times when I don’t want to call. Like when I know a friend’s marriage is failing, and I know I should call, but it would be uncomfortable, and I don’t really know what to say to help. Or like when my cousin’s husband is dying with a brain tumor – is there anything comforting she hasn’t heard already? Or when a friend’s parent has died – the call is looming, I know I need to make it, but my stomach is in knots. She’s devastated, and nothing I can say is going to make her feel better, and I’d kind of like to just distance myself from the grief if at all possible.

But we have to call. Not e-mail. Not Facebook message. Call. As in using the phone.

It may require a herculean overcoming of nerves. In all likelihood, it is not going to be a fun conversation. Do it anyway. Until you’re the person in the distressing situation that others don’t want to call, you may not understand, but the beautiful thing about community is knowing that even when you are in the lowest parts of the deepest despair, someone cares about you enough to rise above the awkward conversation and call to tell you that she’s thinking about you.

Just call. You don’t have to offer groundbreaking advice or inspiring words of wisdom. Just tell the person that you know about the situation and you care. That’s enough.