Thoughts About Thoughts and Prayers

In response to the recent murders at the newspaper in Annapolis, Donnie reverted to the reflexive, trite, automatic and by now meaningless phrase “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims …”

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau was marginally better, saying “our hearts go out to …”

Maybe people don’t realize that when everyone says “thoughts and prayers” it’s the same thing as no one saying “thoughts and prayers.”  For a long time it was a handy thing to say because a.) you didn’t have to confront unpleasant feelings in response to some tragedy and actually think about how to express yourself and  b.) it sounds kind of religious, but not in some kind of pin-you-down way.  In other words, it’s better to say nothing at all than to say “thoughts and prayers” because even if you actually do mean it, it doesn’t come across that way.

So as a service to everyone who finds themselves using this phrase in response to something horrific, I am providing some words you can use, free of charge. They will be fake if you use them because you still can’t think of anything original to say when confronted by tragedy, but at least it won’t sound so abysmally fake as “thoughts and prayers.”

  • How awful!
  • I am heartbroken.
  • I can’t imagine how the people involved in this feel.
  • If there is something I can do for you, don’t hesitate to ask.
  • It is sickening when evil like this pops up in the world again.
  • We all need to hug the people we love right now (This one not so good for Donnie because he doesn’t seem to love anyone but himself.) 
  • I wish I had an answer for why people do things like this but we need to keep trying to know.
  • I hope those affected by this tragedy can find a way to heal.
  • And how about good old: May God be with you (Vaya con Dios, etc etc etc)

© 2018 Joseph Galligan

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