We fight over how to achieve peace. We kill in the name of preserving life. We shove and kick each other to reach the last item on a shelf, an item we intend to give with love. We draw farther and farther apart, deeper into darkness. The greatest irony is that, generally, we share the same basic wants. We all want safety, nutrition, love, opportunity. But our perspective on how to achieve those seems to be separating.

Jim and I have a friend whose vision has deteriorated over the last few years. The images he saw fractured and multiplied, making it more difficult to tell what was real. It had gotten to the point that he couldn’t drive safely. Were the red cars ahead of him actually two red cars, or just double vision of one? Our friend needed new glasses to reintegrate the images, so he could see what was real.

We are used to the idea of “shalom” meaning “peace.” Another interpretation of “shalom” is “wholeness.” From wikipedia,

Shalom, in the liturgy and in the transcendent message of the Christian scriptures, means more than a state of mind, of being or of affairs. Derived from the Hebrew root shalam – meaning to be safe or complete, and by implication, to be friendly or to reciprocate. Shalom, as term and message, seems to encapsulate a reality and hope of wholeness for the individual, within societal relations, and for the whole world.

Shalom is peace, wholeness, integration. We need new glasses to see what is real, that we are one whole. When we give in to hate, whether to refugees from another country or to those who oppose them, we give in to darkness. There is no “other.” We are connected. We are one.

Shalom. Peace. Wholeness. Love.


15 thoughts on “Shalom

  1. Jim Wheeler

    Shalom in your context, Melanie, is beautiful. Can we be collectively responsible for one another in a technologically efficient world, or are we doomed to be merely tribal, xenophobic and greedy?

    Some experts say that the principal barrier to your Shalom is fear, fear that others will take from us what we own, material or cultural.

    Politics matters, very much. The butterfly effect is in full play in this political season.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      We are naturally tribal. The Imam of the Iowa City mosque said Allah made us in different tribes so we can more completely experience each other. And yes, fear and greed are key. I think historically most conflicts are ultimately about resources. I want what you have, and/or I’m afraid you’ll try to take from me what’s mine. We sure see a lot of that now.

      Thanks very much for the thoughtful comment.


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