Completeness. Wholeness. Fullness. Peace. With these weighty and profound definitions, it is no wonder that שָׁלוֹם is my favorite Hebrew word. Though not Jewish, I find a level of richness in this ancient language. Each Hebrew word conveys a feeling, intent, and emotion that is not easily found in present day Western vernacular. Shalom conveys far more than simply peace. It defines a way of living marked by a complete and absolute peace that leads to one’s flourishing. Do we not all inherently crave and long for shalom? I believe we were made to experience thriving in this life and the desire lies deep within our bones. When this sense of internal tranquility is disrupted or threatened in some way, we begin to feel confused and perhaps lost. Because we were made to be at peaceful rest within ourselves and in relationship with others, anything that takes away from this foundation may elicit feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, and inner conflict and turmoil.
There will consistently be situations that arise that shift our sense of shalom. And that is okay. We have been misinformed that struggle and discord are inherently wrong and prevent meaning and purpose. I think there is a correlation between shalom and suffering. Our response, whether we choose to find our way back to shalom or not, will inevitably determine the depth and degree of how wholly we will live. The choice is individual. The journey back to right orientation within is not for the faint of heart. It requires examination of ways we have brought or allowed discord into our own lives. The process can be wildly painful, but to me the reward is worthy of the cost. So our suffering becomes the source of shalom pointing us towards how things are supposed to be. We choose whether that will be our reality. Fellow sojourner, it is my hope that you will give yourself the gift of searching for shalom. I imagine the life of flourishing you will find and claim along the way.