In the aftermath of yesterday’s awful tornado in Oklahoma, tons of politicians, celebrities, regular folk took to the airwaves and Facebook and Twitter to express their “hopes and prayers” for the victims.
This infuriates me.
I hate the phrase, “hopes and prayers.” I really, really hate it. Why? Because it’s empty and cliched and—I’m guessing, 96 percent of the time—unaccompanied by actual prayer. It’s something people say, because people need to say something. It’s something politicians says because, well, they’re politicians. Does it heal? Help? Assist? No.
Again, I consider “hopes and prayers” to be, with rare exception, nonsense. In times of great tragedy, we can do better than uttering trite lines that fade as soon as they’re spoken. Right now, the people in Oklahoma need help. Real help. There are myriad agencies—beginning with the Red Cross—that provide genuine on-the-ground services, and operate with integrity and conviction. That, to me, is significantly more profound than saying some words that have been blathered 1,000,000 times before.
Plus—if we can be blunt here—where’s the logic? I know … I know: God works in mysterious ways. But wouldn’t the hopes and prayers have been significantly more useful before the tornado? And, along those lines, how powerful can post-disaster hopes and prayers really be when innocent people (including innocent children, who will never be able to live fully) were killed. You send your “hopes and prayers” to the survivors? Well, what about those who died? Did God not particularly worry himself over their fates? Was it just “their time,” as the line goes? Sigh.
We humans are strange creatures. Too often, we place our fortunes in the unproven and unknown; hoping faith and wonderment can save the day.
Meanwhile, in a small Oklahoma town, there are piles of rubble and miles of destruction. To hell with “hopes and prayers.”
Let’s try money and resources.