Monday, December 17, 2012

Please don't

Please, don’t tell me “I’ll pray for you”

When a friend on Facebook loses a spouse, pet, family member, or otherwise encounters a downturn of one kind of another, I watch the repetitive posts of “I’ll pray for you” being put up on the friend’s page.  So what does “I’ll pray for you” really mean?  Are you praying because you have no intention of doing anything else but doing exactly what you’d been doing before, except that you typed “I’ll pray for you” on the person’s comment line? Is “I’ll pray for you” the new way of saying that you care but that you’re not going to, for whatever reason, get off your butt and do anything real to show your condolences or help the family in their time of need?

So you’re praying because you want to and not because it’s going to benefit the person in their hour of need.  Admit it.  You might believe that prayers work wonders, but nothing works wonders like getting out there and helping.  If you really wanted to help that friend, you’d actually “do” something.

When someone in a family died near us when I was growing up, my mom went into casserole mode immediately.  She made food for the family to eat after the funeral was over and nobody was going to want to cook.  She made comfort food because she knew they’d need it. She often filled their freezer with food, and then later on brought over baked goods and sandwiches.  She knew that it's hard to even function when you're in grief.  She did something.

Mom would offer to babysit the children if there were any, so that the folks could go attend to whatever they had to do for the funeral.  That's doing something.  When my uncle died, we flew to Illinois and mom immediately went into “doing laundry” mode so my aunt would have less to do while suffering in grief.  Helping could involve pitching in and helping with housework, yard work, or whatever.  It didn’t involve praying.  Mom got to work and tried to lighten the load.  Dad helped with things around the house as well.  Mom was the organizer of the help brigade.  She did something.

 When somebody in the family died, we’d go to visit the family left behind to say that we cared.  If they were far away we’d send handwritten notes and letters, but not just at funeral time, we’d do it later on so they’d know we remembered even after the funeral was over.  Mom taught us to “do” something.  True, this was in the age prior to Facebook, but even now, handwritten personalised notes are always appreciated more than a one line repetetive response on a computer.

 When my mom died, some family friends came to the house at first, but after the funeral was over, my dad, sister, and I were left sitting and looking at each other.  We weren't even able to think yet, much less function.  We had plenty of people that said “I’ll pray for you” to us, but you know, it was a non-effort on their part.  There was an empty house, empty fridge since we’d been busy with the funeral, and no food around.  There was nobody that came over to offer my dad to run to the store for him, because he was pretty devastated in his grief.  But there were plenty of “I’ll pray for you’s.” 
I've got to tell you, the Jewish way of "sitting Shiva" and having food brought to the house where friends are received for a week by the mourning family really beats the Christian way of having a funeral and maybe a quick lunch and then everyone going home for the grieving family.

 I also heard a lot of “god’s will” stuff when my mom died.  That’s when I stopped believing.  I got through it, so did my dad and sister somehow, but we were all so much more cynical as a result of it.

 So when my sister most recently died, I got a whole bunch of “I’ll pray for you’s” on Facebook.  I know people sometimes don’t know what to say, so I didn’t take offense.  But the one message I got was a handwritten letter from a month or two after from a dear friend that actually said something and let me know that he really cared.  And you know what?  He never once said that he’d pray for me.  And it was beautiful. 

 So if you want to pray yourself that’s fine, but leave me out of your feel-goodisms, ok? If you want to pray for the kids in CT’s families, I’m sure they’d rather you sent them a couple of dollars for a burial fund for their child, or how about sending a tray of food in a week or so when the families are dealing with the vacant chair at their dining room table.  Maybe you could send a couple of small toys for the rest of the children of the school.  How about maybe sending a small monetary gift if you can to the parents to be used to get the surviving kids some mental health help.  You could also do some volunteer work on their behalf.  But it all requires that you DO, rather than that you pray. 

 Also, how about not assuming that your Jesus holding their little lambs pictures are appreciated since quite a number of the families affected were not ardent, or even Christians?  Not everyone believes in Jesus, or even in god, though few are going to get into it on Facebook or wherever you’re posting the “I’ll pray for you”.  If you’re sorry for the loss, just say so. 

But whatever you do, please don’t say you're going to pray for me.

In the Aftermath

I took this from another post on Facebook but it pretty much sums up how I feel about the whole gun issue.  If you want to comment, read the entire article first, please.  Thoughtful comments will be admitted, those that are hateful or show lemming like lack of thinking/reading/consideration will not.  Serious dialogue needs to happen so these types of horrific deeds won't continue to happen.
I'm confused at the confusion. Seriously.

A. Countries with stricter gun laws have fewer gun deaths than we do. That's just a fact.

B. Countries with just as many guns, but who educate their gun owners, have less gun deaths than we do. Fa...

C. Countries who have guns, but offer Universal Healthcare that provides things like help for mental issues, have less gun deaths and suicides than we do. Fact.

D. Countries who allow hunting and personal gun ownership, but don't allow guns that are unnecessary for anyone but a soldier, have less gun deaths than we do. Fact.

E. Every country has rules involving driving a car or getting a prescription drug AND buying a gun, we only worry about the first two, and they have less gun deaths than we do. Fact.

F. No one in those countries is crying about their rights being taken away, but I can only assume, that is because those people might see the right to LIVE as being a tad more important than the right to feed your man-gun-love issues.

G. Every time someone mentions gun laws, someone cries about how we are going to take your gun away, which is NOT what anyone is saying (just watch how many people post under here about how we're going to take their gun away - wish some of you would learn how to read).

H. It's not about YOUR freedom, it's about OUR safety. We also have DRIVING LAWS, meaning you have to prove to us you can drive, you can see, you can buy insurance, you can put your seat belt on and you can avoid driving drunk...if you can't do these things, you don't get to drive. Same thing with guns....prove to use that you are smart enough to have a gun, because walking around with a gun and no brain is about as idiotic as letting you drive through town without a brain.

I. Again, no one wants to take your gun away, we just want less idiots to be able to buy the types of guns that can kill 20 people in one minute. I repeat, no one wants to take your gun away.

J. You can cry that guns don't kill, people do. Or that people don't kill, guns do, but the fact is that idiots kill and guns just make it easier for them to kill more people faster. Yes, they could stab you with a pen or chop you with a sword or beat you to death with a puppy...but fact of the matter is, they can't do the same amount of damage as they can with a semi-automatic, and to pretend otherwise is just stupid. Gun + Idiot = problem. And this country is full of guns and we either need to have massive education reform or gun laws...and you and I know we're never fixing education.

K. Saying the bad guys will get guns ANYWAY, so what's the point...that's about as stupid as saying your two year old is going to hurt themselves ANYWAY, so just hand them a chainsaw and a bottle of bleach and stop trying to stop something that is inevitable.