26 Mar Té’s Corner: Shalom, Peace Be Upon You
By Donté Clark
For the last five days, I’ve watched the world’s activities come to a halt.
Games cancelled. All schools on an extended break. Concert and festivals postponed. Non-essential work ceased.
I have noticed that in times of crisis, here in America, we tend to show our humanity, for better or worse. Panic seems to unearth the state of our subconscious mind.
With days available for needed rest and down time, I’ve spent many hours asleep or pondering the words I’ve come across in my studies, one being Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace.
It can mean to be at ease, tranquil or to be complete and restored. For me, I can I see how both interpretations align in the meaning of peace.
As our country is on lockdown, there can arise a sense of panic, a flow of chaos sweeping across our country in the aisles at grocery stores and online for what appears to be scarce necessities. We seem to step over each other in times of need.
With another look, however, I see time returned back to individuals and households in need of self-care, bonding, and reflection — an opportunity for some of us to be still, quiet, and allow our minds to settle from the business of the day to daily routines.
I see this as an opportunity to attend to the needs of others without. Though the words associated with this pandemic have been quarantine or social distancing, they’re also a call to isolate oneself for individual well-keeping.
To cleanse. Yes, a cleanse is needed but not just of a coronavirus, but of selfishness, greedy behaviors, and oppression.
In separating ourselves from the distractions and self-gain, we should use this time for feeding each other. Checking on our neighbors and supporting those who are elderly or in need. Restoring oneself and getting closer to God.
Shalom can broken up, but even its parts carry its meaning.
The first part is shin, which can mean to separate. The second part is the lamed, meaning to be lead. The third part is mem, meaning a movement towards an expected end.
In three parts we have Shin, lamed, mem, and when put together it’s where we get the word sha-l-om: to be lead to an expected end of peace.
In the days to come, however long this “quarantine” lasts, allow this time to feed each other, restore oneself, and become closer to God, praying that we are all led to peace.