Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I like the word 'shalom.' I use it in my correspondence, I use it in my sermons, and that's how I sign my e-mails - 'shalom.' To me it is a concrete reminder of what it is we're all supposed to be about. It means far more than peace. I think it's a vision of the human community. Those great visions of Isaiah - every person fed, no more strife, the ill are healed, prisoners are released. --Katherine Jefferts from an interview in the NY Times in 2006.
I don't speak Hebrew and I'm not in any traditional way a practicing Jew. Every time I use a common phrase, like "Shana Tovah" (happy new year) I feel like such a fraud. I like "L'chaim" quite a bit. Life is short after all - good to remember how precious it is. So I use the term even though I don't have the credentials to do so.
I've been using the word "Shalom" a lot this past year. Though I love the word (really loved Katherine Jefferts' thoughts about it, so much that I remember that interview even years later) I'd never felt at all comfortable using it until this past year.
It was sometime during the heinous summer of unrelenting heat and toxic air that the word shalom arrived from out of the nowhere, found a way into my cosmology. I wasn't thinking about using the word, it just happened, which means (to me) that something big happened over the summer. Something in me can now truly connect with peace, at long last, after a lifetime of drama and struggle. I didn't do it alone! I had lots of help making this breakthrough. (Many thanks to the gypsies, my spirit guides, angels, God, friends and family. Everyone pitched in. Thank you!)
Might as well be honest. Truth is, at one level I can now connect with peace. Deep down. At surface level I still do a whole lot of flopping spiritually, emotionally and mentally. One time the Sufi acupuncturist said, "Be empty like a valley." I said, "I've never been empty like a valley in my whole life!" He said, "Go deeper." Indeed.
This past summer I went deeper. I connected with the heartbeat of peace. Next thing I knew, the word Shalom felt more at home in my mouth, and out in the world once I'd said it aloud.
My heart's connection with peace at a very deep level is one of the many great blessings I received during the past year. I am so grateful.