Tuesday, January 01, 2013

One Little Word for 2013

I have been thinking a lot about my One Little Word for this new year. Last year my word was HEAL. (At that link you can see my words for each year since I started doing this in 2009.) As I thought about what I wanted to focus on in 2013, I noticed that I have been drawn lately to thoughts about peace. I posted two songs in December about peace (here and here). In our secondary chapels at school, we've been discussing the fruit of the spirit, and recently our friend Robbie shared a version of this meditation on peace, what it is and isn't.

As I thought about it, though, I wasn't sure I wanted to choose the word peace. When I looked it up in the thesaurus, I found words like privacy, solitude, ease. I have nothing against those concepts; in fact, they are probably way too important to me. They point to a conception of peace that is largely me-focused. I need some of that kind of peace in my life, but more than that, I need the peace Robbie referred to, the shalom that can be defined as completeness, wholeness. Cornelius Plantinga defines it this way (I found this quotation at the Wikipedia article linked above):
"The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. We call it peace but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight – a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be."

So I decided that instead of peace, my OLW this year would be SHALOM.  I could spend a lifetime, or at least a year, unpacking all the meanings of this word, and the rightness, the way things ought to be inherent in it.   SHALOM isn't an absence of conflict, a walking-on-eggshells "keeping the peace," but an active promoting of restoration and wholeness.

This year, I want to think more about what this SHALOM means on a personal level, in my little world, and in the larger world around me.


Matsu said...

That is a great word, and a great thing to ponder and write about. I look forward to you unpacking this word throughout this year.

Happy new year!

Linda B said...

How wonderful that you sought more information about your word choice of "peace" & found one more meaningful in what you wished for. Without your sharing I would not have known that 'shalom' had a much deeper/broader meaning. Best to you in 2013, Ruth.

Liz Steinglass said...

Thanks for sharing the deeper meanings of peace and shalom. There's a lot to think about here.
Happy New Year.

Andy Bowen said...

You put a Hebrew word in your blog.

Anonymous said...

Last Sunday, "my' Pastor preached about "the one thing" we can do this year for the greatest impact--which turned out to be quite a challenge for me (though I eventually decided it was reading a Bible story everyday, even if it was a re-read). A one-word concept is easier. Mine? Abundance!