Since it would never do to just get on with my sermon like a sensible human being, I've been hunting some rather lovely words about friendship that came from Henri Nouwen a while ago
Friendship is one of the greatest gifts a human being can receive. It is a bond beyond common goals, common interests, or common histories. It is a bond stronger than sexual union can create, deeper than a shared fate can solidify, and even more intimate than the bonds of marriage or community. Friendship is being with the other in joy and sorrow, even when we cannot increase the joy or decrease the sorrow. It is a unity of souls that gives nobility and sincerity to love. Friendship makes all of life shine brightly. Blessed are those who lay down their lives for their friends.
The words about being with the other in joy and sorrow, regardless of our ability to make a difference to those states are so much a part of online friendship. Sometimes, of course, we have to accept that we can't even be fully present for the people who believe we can make things better. I've just had an example of that, this very afternoon as I had to explain that last minute sermon prep just doesn't leave room for impromptu visits from friends in need (or at least, that those visits have to be limited by what I can physically achieve in not enough time). That's never easy.We'd all like to fix things for those for whom we care, - but sometimes, all we can do is watch and pray.