The Atlantic

It’s a Blessing to Bear Your Friend’s Burden

Sharing in someone else’s sorrow is an opportunity to dispense generosity.
Source: Jose A. Bernat Bacete / Getty

People who are struggling with depression or other difficulties often assume that sharing their story with friends imposes a burden on them. In fact, the opposite is usually true: From a true friend’s perspective, being entrusted with the cares and burdens of another is a privilege. It’s an opportunity to dispense generosity, and a sign and symbol of trust. And when both people share with each other more of their inner worlds, more of their sorrow and suffering, the friendship is strengthened. In the words of the proverb, friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief.

In a at the National Cathedral on February 17, Michael Gerson—a columnist; a graduate of Wheaton College, one of the leading evangelical colleges in America; and one of my closest friends—revealed that he was recently hospitalized for depression. It’s been a condition he’s struggled with since his 20s,

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic8 min readScience
What Ballooning Carbon Emissions Will Do to Trees
Many forecasts for climate change assume that tropical forests will continue to soak up carbon dioxide as the world warms. What if they don’t?
The Atlantic3 min read
A Man Moves Into a Lighthouse. Strangeness Ensues.
Robert Eggers’s new film, starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, is an enthralling exploration of the mania of isolation.
The Atlantic5 min readSociety
A Strange New Culprit Behind Eating Disorders
Common infections such as strep throat might have a mysterious link to anorexia and bulimia.