Friday, June 17, 2011


I read somewhere that shalom means so much more than simply peace instead of war. It means peace in our lives, in our homes, and in our spirits. It means safety, fullness, health, wholeness and an absence of irritation and bickering.

I really believe this is what God wants for us. Shalom. 

He tells us to simply be still and know He is God. Maybe because this is most conducive to shalom. He knows we need it. He wants us to have it. Rest in the depth of our souls. 

Sometimes things happen that absolutely will shake the shalom out of our core. I won't go making a list here of everything that can happen to harsh our groove. Too much time is spent thinking on those things as it is. 

But one of those things is, naturally, the economy.

 My husband got laid off a few days ago. 

Breathe, stretch, shake, let it go. 

Yeah, right. 

Jesus could probably roll with things more than any of us, I'd imagine, being so connected to the Father, and all. But sometimes even He needed a moment to have His feelings about something. Lazarus died. We all know that He cried when Lazarus died. Even with His perfect faith and His miracle working abilities. Something sad happened and it brought Jesus to tears. 

I'd guess, though, that He still had His shalom. It seems that one can have one's feelings and one's shalom at the same time. Just like there can be joy and sadness all at once (which is quite the awkward emotion if you ask me.) 

I don't know anyone right now who doesn't lose their shalom at least for a moment when shit goes down, though.  Because none of us are quite so connected to the Father yet as Jesus was.

This is what we talked about with a dear friend of ours when we went to her house with every intention of curling up in a ball on her couch to cry. 

She met us in the doorway with sweet potato blueberry pancakes and milk that she had put in the freezer to make extra cold. 

We lay in the grass under the stars and talked about, oh, everything. 

But the point we took home (besides the usual extreme gratitude for the friends we are beyond blessed to know/have in our lives) was that when things like this happen, it is a chance for us to grow our faith muscle. The job isn't what provided for us. God and Joe's God-given talent provide for us. 

As time goes on, and we grow stronger in our connectedness to our Abba, our shalom is less vulnerable. Of course it still gets shaken. But where last year I would have been out of whack for a month, it's taken me a little over a week to get my shalom back this time. I'd say that's progress. 

I'm still mad at Joseph's boss. I think it was a right ornery thing for him to do - hiring Joe, knowing we would move all the way out here and sign a lease, only to lay him off with no warning whatsoever before his probationary period was up.  Telling him by emptying out his desk before he came into work in the morning. I would really love to march down to the office and empty a few cans of silly string, and perhaps a carton of rotten eggs on his desk.

But forgiveness is not something that really is between the person who is hurt and the person whose actions caused the hurt. Forgiveness is between the hurt party and God. 

It's for me and God to work through it so that I can let it go. 

And yes, I do wish there was a switch I could flip. 

In the meantime, though, there is peace. 

I think, the more peace I grab onto, the more forgiveness sinks in. 

Funny, how that works. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sha Na Na

Sing to the Lord a new song; Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Psalm 96:1

It wasn't even written as a "praise song". It was a silly song on an album that my best friend's 5 year old daughter adores by a band called Tennis. Buried in this carefree song about playing on the beach under the moon are the sha-na-na's. They don't mean anything, all by themselves. They mean sha, na, na. They mean the song is more likely to get stuck in one's head.

But on a soulful morning with my Poppa's presence heavy in my car on the way to work, they were a shout of gratitude for the colors in the sunrise, followed by the wet-eyed ache of how pricelessly purposeful the life we have been given is. The sha-na-na's became a plea that I would fulfill my purpose for that day. And the next. And the next.

On the way home, I am listening to the same silly song and losing myself in the weight of how important friendship is. How insane it is that I have the friends that I have. I sing sha na na, and my God hears, "Oh, thank You for my best friend, my sister. Thank You for everything that she has been to my life. Please help me be half the blessing to her that she has been to me. Oh please, oh please."

Ten minutes from my husband's office where he is waiting for me to pick  him up, a semi truck - juggernaut of the road - pulls a crazy move that sets my adrenaline surging, and those sha na na's are now a prayer for protection of myself and everyone else who holds a wheel that guides 4000 lbs of metal and glass at 70 MPH on asphalt highways day after day.

He sings back to me. Sha na na. "I'm here. I've got you."

Music is a balm and a conduit for communication. When words aren't enough, and my soul needs an outlet, give me something - anything - that I can sing/listen to with the One who loves me the most.

Give me a new song that I can sing to my God.