This phrase has come under scrutiny lately, called trite, overused, ineffective, insulting.
Yet, when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in August 2017, there was little more most of us could do other than contribute money and goods, and offer our thoughts and prayers.
When the lone gunman killed all those innocent people while they attended Sunday services in November 2017, there was little most of us could do other than contribute money and goods, and offer our thoughts and prayers.
Very few of us are trained in rescue efforts or how to take down a shooter. If we tried, we would slow the efforts of those who can, so we help in the best way we can. We offer our sympathy and our prayers.
Instead of on our knees or offering sympathy, those who make fun demand instead that we should be on our feet, marching and demanding change. Their displaced anger blinds them to the fact that as human beings we need emotional and physical support as much as we need food, water, and safety/shelter.
My knees are not only on the ground, and my nose is not solely stuck inside my prayer book, I also keep abreast of the news. I delve for facts. I study the situation, what caused it, and what needs to be done. And I work toward it.
When I offer my “thoughts,” they are not a vacant show of sympathy. I feel their sadness and trauma. I believe in empathy, agreement, consensus, human need.
When I offer my “prayers,” they do not come to an end with an “amen.” I believe in the power of prayer, spirituality and meditation, its comfort and direction.
People are not won over by bullying or denigration. I will not be shamed into stopping from offering my thoughts and prayers.
It takes all of us to offer the complete spectrum of needs that we require as humans.