Sometimes, you just feel like you can't help your friends. Everyone has felt like that at one time or another; some more than others. After all, what can you do? You're words on a screen. You can't stop bad things from happening to the ones you love, because you're on opposite sides of the country.
That's not true. Not entirely, anyway. There are things you can do or say. You might not be able to protect them physically, but you can support them emotionally. I've discovered two ways so far.
The first one is to pray. Seriously. God is always listening, and he always has everything under control. Even if it seems like a small thing, pray about it. Pray hard. He's listening, and He knows what to do. Sometimes, it doesn't seem like He is doing anything to help or change the situation. You have to be patient. I know, it might be wrong to use a Lord of the Rings quote in context here, but I think I will. You know how Gandalf said that a wizard was never late, nor was he early? The same is true with God. He never does anything too late or too early--it's always at the perfect time.
He knows all the hurt your friend is going through. And He has a reason for it. He won't give anyone more than they can take—He gives his hardest battles to his toughest soldiers.
The second thing you can do is remind your friend of things. Dreams they have for the future, exciting things they have planned, how much you care about them. Now, I've discovered this completely from experience—when my friends remind me of these things, it makes me feel better inside. That's the problem with society nowadays, I think; people have stopped telling their friends or siblings what really matters. Take it from someone who's been at the bottom before—sometimes, you just need to hear, "I love you" or "You're beautiful/amazing/wonderful" to keep going. Those words have come from my friends at some really dark times in my life, and they helped me to keep fighting.
'Cause you know what? I felt like I had a purpose, or at least an obligation—here were these people, friends and adoptive siblings, and they told me time and time again: "I love you. It's gonna be okay; you can keep going."
Even if ending my story made things better (which, I have to add, it WON'T. It never will, for anyone), I couldn't be that selfish. If I did that, I would be causing anguish to the very people who loved me, and whom I loved back. And so, even if I'm at my lowest, I won't ever do anything. Because each day, I have someone reminding me that they love me. And I'm not going to hurt them by doing something foolish.
My point here is that even if you live miles and miles apart, you can still make a difference. Words are stronger than you realize, whether they're prayers or reminders. The saying "sticks and stones may hurt my bones but words will never hurt me" is a lie.
The fact is, words do hurt. And just as they can hurt, they can heal, too.
So the next time you feel helpless, remember that. Pray for your loved one who's hurting. And remind them that you love them. Words that seem simple and unhelpful to you--whether they be prayers or gentle reminders—aren't so small at all. They could save a life.