I don't usually think of myself as particularly comforting or warm, though it's not because I don't want to be. I just have this habit of keeping the people in my life at arm's length and have never quite figured out how to get around it; I have a hard time opening up to people when I'm speaking (which is probably why blogs, letters, and all other forms of written communication are so dear to me -- it's communication at a remove); I'm not particularly maternal, I spent five years with a partner who had young children who we had every weekend, and though I loved them and did my best to care for them and protect them, we never really bonded.
All that said, I do find that there are times when a switch somewhere inside is flipped by the knowledge that someone I care about is hurting, and suddenly all I can think of is what to do to provide comfort and care. I'm in a space like that right now. A friend is going through a difficult time right now, and that urge is strong. Of course, due to any number of complicating factors (there are always complicating factors, aren't there?), I can't physically do anything about it. So as much as I'd like to, I can't hold his hand and tell him that somehow he'll get through to the other side. I've told him that I'm here and that I'm thinking about him and hoping that he can do what he needs to do to take care of himself in the midst of it, and for now, that's all I can do.
Hopefully the urge to comfort will be enough to provide some level of comfort in itself and that the patience to know that he knows and that it's enough will stay with me as long as possible. It's difficult to not be able to do something, but I know that right now just holding that thought of comfort is something, or at least I hope it is.
These moments of intense need to shield others from pain or hurt give me hope, somehow, that maybe I won't always keep people at a distance, that I do have the capacity to connect at something more than a surface level. It may be an odd way of looking at things, but I'm back to working with what I have in front of me.