I sat at lunch across from my best friend. It was the first time we had chatted in a while, and she had a lot of hard things to share. She began to pour her heart out to me.

As she spoke, it was as though I could feel the weight of her heart in my hands. The feelings of doubt, guilt, and fear oozed like blood from the cracks, dripping through my fingers and puddling on the floor around me. I nodded as she continued to speak, her words adding to the weight one by one. I caught them all, fumbling to keep the pieces of her heart together in my hands. She finished speaking, we said our goodbyes, and I walked to class.

I carried her broken heart with me.

I thought I could ignore the problem. I shoved the pieces in my backpack, but soon the blood pooled around my feet, seeping from my bag. Obviously, that wasn’t going to work. I had to do something about this. She had given me her heart—pouring it out to me piece by piece at the lunch table. I had a responsibility.

I ran home from class and rummaged through my closet for a sewing kit of kindness. Maybe, just maybe, I could fix it. I threaded my needle and got to work. Stitch after stitch I tried to fix it. Endless, empty words poured from my mouth every time I saw her. It felt pointless. I fixed nothing. After weeks of trying to mend it, the threads snapped, and the blood-like feelings began to pool once again.

I sat with her heart in my hands. The stitches did nothing; my words went only so far. And it was at this moment that I felt the tear begin in my own heart. My chest grew heavy, and I began to cry. What a terrible friend I was! I couldn’t fix this! She had poured her heart out to me, and all I could do was worry. I distanced myself from her, too busy fearing the situation to stand in and support her. I felt I wasn’t strong enough, and in that moment of weakness her heart fell from my hands.

Burdened now with the weight of my broken heart, I took a deep breath, reached out, and picked hers up again. She had given me all she was—her heart was in my hands. I couldn’t fix it. And my own heartbreak only made things worse. Worry surely wasn’t the answer, but neither was my sewing kit.

Maybe I just need to lighten her load.

Maybe I just need to do my part.

Maybe I just need to hold a heart.