Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blessings



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.

Shalom.

20 comments:

Everton Terrace said...

Interesting Reya. I feel like a peaceful person and I know I'm a joyful person but I don't know how deep it goes. A year ago I would have thought it was all the through but this year brings doubt. Do you think if you are content with people and life you are at peace? My mind is racing with questions today.

The Bug said...

Ooh - that's my presiding bishop for you. She's pretty wise, I think.

I could do with some shalom. Just lately I feel this pressure in my chest from events I have no control over. It's inward and outward and making me jittery with the effort to appear unaffected. So I might meditate on the concept of shalom for a bit...

Expat From Hell said...

I first heard it as "salaam", but I think it carries the same demeanor. Bravo to you for posting about it, and paying it forward for all of us, Reya. EFH

ellen abbott said...

I mostly feel at peace except for those times when my dissatisfaction at not having achieved something in my life is dominant, usually felt when I see someone else's accomplishment in my same general sphere of possible accomplishments. Envy I guess. Oh, but would I still have the good things in my life had I achieved those successes?

ellen abbott said...

Oh, btw, beautiful sky pic.

Angela said...

Und Friede sei mit Dir, Reya!

Nancy said...

How wonderful for you, Reya. I love that you are at peace with yourself. There is no better gift.

Reya Mellicker said...

Now wait a minute. I didn't say I'm at peace. Oh no! I said I can connect, in my heart of hearts, with peace - well enough that I now feel ok saying "Shalom." On the surface I am one passionate, stormy human being! Ask anyone who knows me in "real" life.

Bug YES she is very very wise. If I were Christian, I would definitely be Episcopalian.

I love Salaam, too. And the English word "Peace".

Back at ya Angela!! (How do you say that in German?)

Reya Mellicker said...

Everton, since you asked, I stopped and thought about it for awhile. I think contentment is a kind of peace, but the "shalom" kind of peace is also a liberating feeling, and brings a subtle bliss with it.

That's what I'm thinking right now at least.

willow said...

I love that Bing Crosby song in White Christmas..."I count my blessings, instead of sheep". Shalom to you, my friend.

Cyndy said...

For me peace is one of those words, faith is another one, that has about as many different meanings as there are people to think about it. I think it definitely comes from a deeper place and exists under layers of contentment, joy, acceptance, satisfaction, love, and all kinds of other things. Sometimes it's hard to find. But your photos often show peace.

Gary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Reed said...

I'm just the opposite -- I feel superficial peace, and deep inner angst!

Reya Mellicker said...

Steve - that's funny. I know that feeling, too!

Jo Floyd Lucas said...

Whoops! Is there a membership test before you can wish someone a blessed new year in their language of origin?

If so, I'm the biggest fraud around! I say "Shana Tova" to my Jewish friends, "Feliz Navidad" to my Hispanic friends, and "Spasiba" to my Russian friends.

I love to learn and use the beautiful words and phrases of the world's cultures. I think it brings us together and indicates a willingness to appreciate each other's unique beliefs and customs.

Than again, maybe I'm just rationalizing the real reason I love other languages. Maybe I really feel that way because my 'language of origin' would be Welsh, a difficult, dissonant language, at best. How much better for my ears to hear the pleasing sounds of "Shalom," "Salaam," "Pax," "Peace," "La Paix, or the hundreds of alternatives, rather than the Welsh translation. ;-)

HEDDWCH, y'all!

Reya Mellicker said...

No you are not a fraud, Jo! Neither am I, I just FEEL like a fraud when I use Hebrew words, since I don't know a thing about the language, but I'm "supposed" to. It's a weird internal thing.

Jo Floyd Lucas said...

LOL, it could be worse. You could be of Welsh extraction...there's no way you can even pronounce those words! :-)

It's so intersting to me that languages like Hawaiian, consonants are never put next to each other (and every word ends in a vowel), but in others, like Welsh, consonants are all OVER the place! I love this stuff!

Pob hwyl i chi, Reya! (Have a great day!)

Reya Mellicker said...

Jo - I have a good friend in Wales and have stayed there several times. I love Wales. The land is so crazy. Fitting that you are Welsh!

Meri said...

What a turning point. Blessings upon you. Shalom.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks, Meri. It is a turning point, an initiation. Wow.