Thoughts and prayers are not an empty gesture

Published 7:55 am Thursday, November 15, 2018

Offering thoughts and prayers in the wake of a tragedy is often derided these days as a hollow gesture.

There’s some truth to it. Thoughts and prayers aren’t as helpful, in most cases, as a good doctor or charitable contributions. Most of the time, however, it’s all the average person can do when they’re utterly powerless to change a bad situation.

In the past few weeks, sports and “real life” have slammed into each other far too often in Central Mississippi. Last Friday, a week after he broke two vertebrae making a tackle in a game against Madison Central, Greenville High School football player Jeremiah Williams died in a Jackson hospital.

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Here in Vicksburg, Brady Morgan, wife of Warren Central football coach Josh Morgan, was diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks ago. She is scheduled to begin chemotherapy treatments this week. The couple has six children.

Both events are unspeakably tragic. One young life cut way too short. Another threatened. One family has lost its son, and another is trying to save its mother.

Funds have been set up to help both families. Madison Central’s community has raised $45,000 for Williams’ family through a GoFundMe account (

Another GoFundMe for Brady Morgan ( has raised $18,000.

The money will certainly help, and please donate if you can. But just as important are the power of the often-dismissed thoughts and prayers.

Thoughts and prayers won’t bring back a lost loved one or magically strip cancer from a body. They won’t pay for a funeral or a doctor bill. What they will do is offer a reminder that there is a reason to go on.

Even something as simple as a kind word or wearing a pink “Believing4Brady” sticker shows the people affected by tragedy that they’re not alone during a dark time. Hope, love and friendship are powerful things that carry us through those periods when it would be easiest to give up. Simple reminders of those things can be as valuable as any monetary donation.

So, please, donate if you can, by all means. Provide other support if you’re in a position to do so. But don’t dismiss the value of emotional support. It can make a world of difference in times of tragedy.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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