DEAR MISS MANNERS: Sadly, these days it’s not unusual to receive requests for prayer, action or positive thoughts for people going through difficulties. When one hasn’t heard any more about the situation in a week or two -- is the person out of the hospital or improving? Has a new job been found? Does the family perhaps need a meal? -- is there a polite way to inquire how things are?
Often, I’ll make a statement rather than ask a question, such as, “You’re still in my thoughts, and I hope things have improved for you. My offer of assistance still stands.” But I don’t get a response, and am still in the dark.
If the situation is still dire, I don’t want to intrude, but if the need has passed and I could be helpful to others, I’d like to move on.
GENTLE READER: There is no need to make these actions mutually exclusive. If those in need are able to ask for help, presumably they will reach out again if there is further necessity. In the meantime, Miss Manners assures you that you may safely otherwise direct your thoughts, prayers and generous deeds to others who may require it --whether they specifically reach out or not.