1) What is the secular equivalent of telling someone "I'm praying for you"?
I've been thinking about this a lot lately because as people share sad information online, the "appropriate" response is, "I'll be praying for you..." or "My thoughts and prayers are with you." I often find myself struggling with the right words to say that convey the same sense of care to the person I'm speaking with. When I do say something about praying, I often feel very inauthentic. My spirituality is complex, and I don't feel like conveying it here, but suffice it to say, that praying is not a part of my experience. But for the majority of people in the US, prayer is therapeutic experience, which is welcomed as both a gift to give and receive.
But the fact is, not everyone shares that perspective. In all reality, many people find other's offerings of prayers as condescending. So what do you say to a person if a) you don't pray yourself or b) you want to respect that the person your are speaking to might not welcome your prayers? I think it's tough because culturally, we assume that praying for someone is one of the few things you can "do" to help a friend who's in a tough spot.
What religious neutral words convey the same meaning? I've tried out "I'll be thinking of you" but it just doesn't have the same feeling.
2) Where are the people like me in the media?
This thought came to me as I was watching The Biggest Loser this week. (I know, I know, that was my first mistake. But I LOVE Parenthood and it's on right after it...) It seems as if the media highlights three types of people:
- People who are of "normal" body weight and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
- People who are overweight but with an undying desire to achieve "normal" body weight so they go on shows like Heavy or The Biggest Loser.
- People who are overweight lazy slobs who eat fast food three times a day and sit on the couches for hours at a time so they are the butt of jokes or eventually turn into the second type who go on shows like Heavy or The Biggest Loser.
But it also erases the experiences of so many people. Specifically, overweight women who are not conforming to the pressure to be smaller. Overweight people like me, who have learned to love our bodies despite every obstacle standing in the way of us doing so. Overweight people who enjoy a healthy lifestyle, work out three times a week, and try their best to fuel their bodies with enriching foods...but who DON'T obsess over their size or how many pounds they would like to drop.
Where are we?
Oh well, I suppose these are both rhetorical questions, because if you have an answer, I'll be stunned.