“Thoughts and Prayers”

To be numb is to declare submission. It is a level of indifference that is developed out of a misguidedly large amount of investment towards something. You can be on the verge of falling asleep, bur are amongst a crowd of people, making it more difficult to sleep. Slowly, but surely, however, you start to doze off despite the outside forces initially preventing you from falling asleep. Your body developed a tolerance for that instance, it became accustomed to the adversity and practically rendered it irrelevant, all in the name of falling asleep. This is the art of an advanced sense of indifference, to be numb.

We’ve all numbed to something. Things that were once thought to be impossible to overcome or resolve became a thing of the past, no longer weighing you down with regret or insecurity. You’ve become used to it, no longer seeing the need to lose yet another sleep of what might’ve been or what was.

I’ve become numb to mass shootings. Despite my best intentions, these tragic and horrific happenings have become so constant and commonplace that I unknowingly developed a tolerance for it. I hate that this is happening within me, because the loss of life isn’t supposed to be something to get used to. The ending of one’s life has been treated as a statistic, an accessory to help push someone’s agenda forward. The consumption of news broadcasting in a daily, around the clock basis has also turned the viewer who were once sympathetic and rightfully shook by killings, to a customer looking for anything to refuel their beliefs in the confines of a television screen.

Think about it: what do you do when you hear of a mass shooting? Do you instantly hug your loved ones? Do you instantly hit the ground in prayer? Do you genuinely think of the destruction and havoc that has been wreaked upon these people?

Or do you instantly check social media to see if this shooting is one worth having an emotional investment over? Maybe you open up Twitter and continuously refresh a politician’s page to see what they think. You don’t develop an opinion by yourself, but rather make a collage of other ones you see in an effort to fit within the mold, calling it your own. You don’t get outraged unless others do, because you no longer think of your anger and emotion to be unique. You’ve submitted to repetition, even in the most tragic and heartbreaking of instances. We’ve lost empathy for one another, because the feeling of staying connected has lost its uniqueness and spark. We’re now more secluded and alone now more than ever before, and we choose to become indifferent to it. Not because we have more important things to do, but because we’re under the impression that we do. And no other phrase that demonstrates the sad mundanity of these tragedies than “Thoughts and Prayers”.

The mass shooting in a Sutherland Springs church is one that paralyzed my numbness, reason being it taking place in a church, a house of worship. The very idea of someone deciding to preemptively kill anyone, let alone in a church, is sickening and heartbreaking. That being said, the idea of giving out “thoughts and prayers” do the fallen is insultingly redundant. They were praying at the time of their demise, for resolution of their problems, to live a happy life that will see past today. Those prayers, as heartfelt and passion fueled as they are, were destroyed in an instant. Of all the things that can be done, we still resort to “praying” as if we don’t see the irony in that, like if we don’t know better.

Regardless of your religious affiliation, existent or not, you cannot be over reliant over the idea that success will come your way if you “believe” hard enough. You would think this would be a no-brainer, but I’ve seen far too many posts that imply the contrary. Real change is not credited because “God made them feel a different way”, but because people decided to act, because they knew change is conducted by change, not copying and pasting a bible verse for the umpteenth time. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve done my fair share of copying and pasting scripture in my day, but you’d have to be delusional to believe real change is done by way of posting a phrase that has lost its purity. You can pray to your heart’s content, you have the absolute right to, but never think, not even for a moment, that a wish upon a star will end these tragedies, or numb the pain these families are being scarred with. To do so is to escape from numb this familiar pain, trying to detach yourself from this brutal reality. Now is not the time to shelf ourselves off from others, justifying the seclusion by way of “prayer”. Simply put, we have to stop doing nothing, expecting something to happen. Change is hardly circumstantial and convenient, and it certainly is not done from nothing. Be outraged, have questions, and never be falsely satisfied.

One thought on ““Thoughts and Prayers”

  1. I appreciate your writing on this topic.

    It is as you point out, that among the overabundance of shootings, people often respond without intentionality to violence. Phrases like “thoughts and prayers” seem like a polite and disinterested cliche. Yet, the sheer volume and magnitude of the violence reported to us present a challenge: how can we deal with this many deaths in a way that is meaningful to each act of violence and the individuals affected?

    We can’t do nothing, yet it’s not easy to do something. That seems to be the challenge to us all: do something about the violence we see. What has been done? What has worked, and what should we continue doing?

    Liked by 1 person

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