It’s a great concept. I’ve spent some time thinking about this word, and it’s really something worth pursuing. In high school, we tossed it around as a substitute for whatsup or hey, just to be different. But really, I think it deserves way more credit than a Hebrew howdy.
Wikipedia explains one connotation of the word as inner peace. To me, it’s balance. As a recreation major, this was a big concept. Now, being at a Baptist university, we didn’t exactly call it inner peace, but we were after the same meaning. How many of those future/wannabe-CEO’s in the business school had shalom? You know what I mean… always having to put on their best suits and etiquitte, keeping tabs on how many Greek “functions” they had attended , competing for .05 of a GPA point…. Call me arrogant, but they were missing out. They were missing the big picture. Sure, maybe all those things they felt forced to pursue did actually matter for where they were at in life, but how important was where they were headed? All I can say is a life spent chasing vanity and career and money and reputation is a life wasted. There’s no room for relativity there.
Anyway, back to shalom. It’s something worth pursuing. Where does it come from? A right view of things. Where does this right view come from? A right relation to our Creator. If I really truly realize who God is, and just how much He’s got everything taken care of, who am I to be so arrogant as to shun a deep, inner peace?
One place shalom has been getting some press TLC’s show “Shalom in the Home”. They have this Rabbi on there, Shmuley Boteach, and he’s so awesome. Just commonsense, knock-you-over wisdom. Here’s a quote I dug up recently:
Shalom in the home, domestic tranquility, is the ultimate blessing. The man who has a woman who believes in him is impregnable and invincible. Nothing in life can hurt him because he has peace at this center.
Bam! That’s me. Because I have such an awesome wife. She believes in me, she followed me out here to Durango (…ok, maybe Durango’s not so hard of a choice), she’s proud of me. She balances me out. Really, this manifestation of God’s perfect selfless holy love in my life is a source of shalom.
So I’d encourage you to ask, “Where does my shalom come from? Who has God put in my life that brings me inner peace?” If you’re single, you’re not exempt. Just because I named my wife doesn’t mean that shalom is only found in romantic contexts.
So your homework is to seek out that shalom and thank your Creator as well as thank that person for the peace they bring you.