American Red CrossI’m always surprised by people’s reactions when a tragedy occurs. They Joanne Sfar Pray for Paristake to social media and promise prayers to the victims, believing this is doing something to help the situation. When Joann Sfar drew a cartoon asking that people not pray for Paris, there was a backlash and outcry. How dare she? Didn’t she know that praying was people’s way of helping?

Let me tell you, if there’s a way to do less for a tragedy, I don’t know what it is. Just because you type a bunch of words on a screen and mumble stuff to your sky daddy, doesn’t mean you’re helping. It soothes your conscience into thinking you’re being an effective force against something horrific and evil. Well, let me burst that bubble. You’re not.

I made a comment on Facebook that prayer is ineffective and there are those of us who don’t want it. That if someone says “don’t pray for me” then don’t pray. After all, no means no in all contexts not just sex. I went on to say if people really wanted to do something, they’d donate blood. I got pounded for not understanding the power of prayer.

Here’s the deal; after a tragedy, people are wounded. Hospitals need blood. Desperately. And they can’t get enough of the stuff. So if you really want to make a difference, donate blood. If you can’t donate blood for medical reasons then donate time to a blood drive or donate money. Don’t just sit behind your computer promising mumbles to a deity that people may or may not believe in.

Donating blood fits a lot of different situations, too.

Want to support troops? Donate blood.
Loved one diagnosed with terminal cancer? Donate blood.
Expecting a new grandbaby soon? Donate blood.
Someone shot up a theatre in your hometown? Donate blood.
Tragedy halfway across the world? Donate blood.

One pint of blood can save up to three lives according to the American Red Cross. Donating blood is actually doing something. It is a physical thing you can do to help.

So instead of jumping on the social media bandwagon and promising prayers, promise to donate blood. If you can’t, promise to encourage others to donate blood or to donate money. If you really want to help, do the thing that will make a difference. Donate blood.