In recent months, there have been a startling number of catastrophic incidences: devastating hurricanes that affected multitudes; thousands left homeless, without water, and in many cases, searching for loved ones; multiple mass shootings in which hundreds were killed and many more injured, not to mention all the fires and floods that have brought down entire cities to their knees. It hasn't been pretty.

After each and everyone of these deadly disasters, I often heard the phrase, "Our thoughts and prayers are with ..." While the sentiments were more than likely well-intentioned, how effective were they, really? How genuine?

In times of devastation, words can have a calming effect, true. But for someone who has lost a home, has seen a friend shot and killed right beside them, "thoughts and prayers" don't do much.

I wonder, also, if the person who is sending the good and warming thoughts is actually doing so, and if so, to what end? Are the words authentically spoken, or are they the PC thing to say at such a calamitous time?

Thoughts and prayers are a good thing. But, in and of themselves, they are powerless. The power lies in action and action only.

Hurricane victims need water, electricity, medical care, and food. Victims of mass shootings need understanding; treatment for trauma, and something to be done about the prevention of such violence in the future. And while thoughts and prayers are a wonderful and kind-hearted thing, they are simply not enough.

I am not suggesting that we, as caring human beings, not send good thoughts to those who have been harmed beyond words. I am suggesting, however, that words alone cannot pacify a people in pain.

Those who have the power, have the responsibility to extend a loving hand; a hand that fulfills basic survival needs in a quick and efficient manner.

Those who have the power, have the responsibility to listen to those who are scared; to those who have lost loved ones in unimaginable ways that should never happen.

Beyond thoughts and prayers there is ACTION. Action alone can move a people, can make things better, can prevent future incidences of horror.

Yes, send your thoughts and prayers. Then do what it takes to put those thoughts and prayers into action.

Author's Bio: 

Rossana Snee is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She is the author of The Healing Alphabet, 26 Empowering Ways to Enrich Your Life. She is a monthly contributor for The Lakewood Community News. Follow her on Twitter and Periscope @askjoshsmom.