Next to, "I'm on my way to help," the best thing to say to a suffering person or a city full of them is, "I'm praying for you."
"I'm thinking of you" doesn't quite cut it. Because: If I'm wandering around looking for my dog in unstable rubble, who cares whether you are thinking of me or not?
Alas, it's disingenuous for the agnostic and the atheistic to say, "I'm praying for you." We don't want to insult the injured by lying to them. But we want to offer them something (without offering them money).
So it's becoming common to say in personal correspondence that we're "sending good thoughts to you in the hospital" and openly on Facebook that we're "sending good thoughts to Oklahoma City."
How does one go about doing that, exactly? Do you actually construct good thoughts in your head—I think Oklahomans are strong people, and they will get through this—and then point your probiscus in the general direction of Oklahoma and nod, a la I Dream of Jeanie?
And if you believe sufficiently in magic to think you can send "good thoughts" to Boston one month and Oklahoma the next, well then why don't you just say a fuckin' prayer?
Oh, "it's just an expression," you say?
Yeah, well that's sort of what it sounds like.