In our lives we move from peace to storms and back to peace again … or at least we should. We need both peace and storms. We can grow as individuals in both times of peace and times of storms.
In life we are always in one of three positions: entering a storm, in a storm or leaving a storm. Our challenge is to be ready for storms, if possible, before they hit. Sometimes we are able to be proactive and sometimes we have no choice but to be reactive.
Conflict with a teenager can be anticipated the day the child is born. The sudden and unexpected death of a spouse is not anticipated. Regardless, life is a series of storms that come in all shapes and sizes.
In Hebrew, the word “shalom” is loaded with numerous meanings, every one of them good. According to Wikipedia, shalom can mean peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility.
Shalom can refer to peace between God and man and peace between two countries. It is a Biblical word used in the Old Testament as a core concept in the Jewish faith.
Shalom is also used as a name, and some use it as a sacred name of God. It is still used in modern Israel as a greeting and can be used for hello or goodbye. It can be used as a noun, adjective, verb or adverb.
We should each be at peace with ourselves and our world. We should each have completeness. We should live in shalom.
We should live our lives in the shalom zone. We should each have an inner peace within us.
If we are at peace on the inside, it should then extend out to our closest relationships. In the best of all circumstances, we would be at peace at home and with our family and our close friends.
With peace in our inner circle, it should then extend out to others we interact with in living life. Taken to an extreme, if everyone had this, we might have shalom with the entire world.
As we seek and struggle with our own personal shalom, storms hit. As I said above, some are entirely unanticipated. Whether anticipated or not, we have no choice but to deal with the storm we wake up in. Burying our head in the sand does not work. Some storms move on without action by us, others we need to take action to get out of.
Sometimes it seems that as we are trying to navigate through one storm, another one shows up on the horizon. We must do the best we can with both the storm we are encountering as well as the one approaching.
It could be argued that we should be living life preparing for the next storm. This would be a proactive approach to the world. It would be putting systems in place in advance for the difficult days that are ahead.
As an attorney, I often meet with individuals experiencing the most difficult days of their entire lives. They’re looking for something to hold onto in the middle of a storm. When I am talking to a person in this valley of their life, I always ask them about their support team, someone in their lives who is there to help them through.
I find the best way to prepare for a storm is to have a support group in place. This comes from relationships. Whether it is family, church or some really close friends, we all need someone to come along beside us when things are rough. Fighting a storm individually is much more difficult than having another or others with us in the battle.
In a family setting, we all know a teenager is going to go through a stage of growth where he or she pulls away from his or her parents. This often includes rebellion and defiance. Before this storm hits, do you have in place a relationship with your child with deep enough roots to pull through the turmoil?
Living life requires us to encounter and be able to handle both shalom and storms.
My challenge to you is to live as much of life as possible in shalom: a life of peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility. It all begins on the inside. Find shalom in your own world and then extend it outward to everyone you engage with.
Understand your life is filled with storms. This is not your fault. Storms will hit. Prepare for them in advance the best you are able. Develop relationships that equip you before the big storm hits. Try to hold onto shalom while you navigate through the storms.
Recognize these two aspects of the world you live in.
May you have shalom in your world and, with the peace shalom brings, may you be equipped to weather the storms of your life. And by doing so, may you be a model for others and be able to be a blessing to those you influence in the life you live.
Just a thought …
Rick Kraft, a South Pasadena High School graduate, is a syndicated columnist, motivational speaker, published author and attorney. To submit comments, contributions or ideas, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.