"Even when tragedy has nothing to do with physical death, it still involves a form of death in the shattering of shalom, or harmony. " - To Be Told
used as salutation by Jews at meeting or parting, meaning “peace.”
Shalom is that moment of tranquility, innocence, and peace in our lives. We have all experienced those moments. It is the moment when we are playing in a fresh pile of autumn leaves. It is the moment when your mom sat you on the sink to wash your face. These are shalom moments, and for most of us, our childhood represents the most significant and most uninterrupted moments of shalom.
Unfortunately, there comes a time when our shalom is shattered due to brokenness or a distortion of the truth. The impact of this shattering, damages our abilities to become transparent, vulnerable and true. Essentially, our human dignity has been attacked and a deadly force enters into our lives with a mission to divide, conquer, and destroy. In the wake of the damage, we lose our truest identity and are renamed orphan, bastard, difficult, loser, widow or enemy. At the very moment of our renaming, we are thrust into our stories and become wrapped in the ill-fitting wardrobe of loneliness and insecurity.
From this point forward, our entire goal is to take off these ill-fitting clothes and names and return to shalom. The journey back to shalom is arduous because it requires us to vividly revisit the settings, characters, and dialogues that shattered us. If correctly done, the journey will unleash the power of empathy, forgiveness, and healing and move us closer to the plot of our lives. As we continue to unpack our story, we learn that life is not random or pointless but meaningful, purposeful and ordained. Once this is discovered, we can return to shalom and use the power of our story to uniquely help others take off ill-fitting clothes and find their shalom too.
My Shalom Broken
assault or abuse (a person, especially a woman or child) sexually.
Age 6 - A neighbor's teenaged son lured me into his room and began touching me. He told me that if I told, he would tell everyone that I was lying and gay. This event left me feeling scared, vulnerable, ashamed and alone. Afterward, I would go on to develop, and display, a hyper-masculinity in an attempt to shake off the name that the monster tried to give me. Furthermore, I became distrustful of unknown men and extremely protective of young children.
cease to support or look after (someone); desert.
Age 7 - One day, my mother told me that I was going to my father's house for the weekend. Ultimately, a 3-day stay turned into the rest of my childhood. As a result of this, I felt unwanted, vulnerable and alone. The negative impact of this event caused me to become guarded against the developing of deep relationships. My thoughts were, "anyone could leave at anytime" therefore, my goal was to protect myself from getting hurt - at all cost.
cruel and violent treatment of a person or animal.
Age 7-8 - When I moved in with my father, his girlfriend didn't like me, and her goal was to have my father send me back to my mother. As a result, she would accuse me of stealing from her and her daughter and hide the items in my room. Whenever my father would be out of the home, she would yell at me and tell me that I was worthless. I spent significant amounts of time on punishment, alone in my room and scared of her.
The trauma caused me to develop a bed wetting problem, which in turn - made her furious. One day before school, she was so angry that she suggested that I twist off my genitals; she later made me walk to school with urine-drenched underwear on my head. That day, Child Protective Services told my father that she had to leave the home. I never saw her again. The result of these events caused me to develop coping mechanisms that made me highly defensive to accusations, seclusive and emotionally detached in the midst of conflict.