I wish I had been fasting when the s***storm of emotion hit me last weekend.
(I’ve taken the past few days off due to excessive heat and family commitments, as well as the Sabbath).
Needless to say, my soul is longing for the “narrow gate” which leads to new life once again, and fasting does just that: makes us focused and in touch with ourselves at our core after a while, which helps us to hold onto center when the “hurricanes” hit (as I referred to life’s difficult moments in my last blog). Except I didn’t get to experience that this past weekend; instead I was able to learn from getting hooked by the drama which more commonly unfolds for us humans.
The anxiety, fear, anger, and loss of control was so unexpected and so confusing that I didn’t have language to understand what was happening at first. I faked my way through the next couple hours of being socially appropriate, and then as we pulled out onto the highway I said to my husband, who was driving, “I need ice cream NOW. And a coke to go with it.” Pulling out of the McDonald’s drive-thru, a cone in one hand and a small coke in the other, I said to him (with the look of bliss on my face, I’m sure): “Food is surely a drug. I feel SOOOOOO much better now. This is absolutely the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten in my life!” (which is so not true, but that’s how euphoric and free this ordinary soft-serve was making me feel!!!!)
Fasting makes our hearts touch our bellies. Or at least that’s how I describe it. It puts us in touch with the immediacy and concreteness of my own longing or suffering, and this is how we can more find our way into Christ, into the connection with our Source of Being and all the rest of creation, which is groaning in its own ways for God’s fullness to come. And when we’re aware of our belonging to EVERYTHING in Christ, we can more easily watch the dramas unfold without getting caught up so easily in identifying with the emotional turmoil. In which case, we may only need the ice cream OR the coke—not both!
This morning I knelt down to pray and opened to a Muslim daily prayer I found in a book of Interrreligious Prayer by Father Thomas Ryan. It begins:
O God, you are peace.
From you comes peace, to you returns peace.
Revive us with a salutation of peace…
It was at this point that I noticed the clouds with newborn light snuggled up to them through the NE corner of my front window. One of them looked just like an angel’s wing.
Was God saluting me with a gesture of peace?
I’m fascinated with how much we need all three perspectives on peace held by each of the Abrahamic faiths, in order to more fully dream and imagine and plan what our response might be to God’s invitation to work with Her/Him for peace in the world.
Shalom is the Hebrew word commonly translated as “peace.” I learned from Martha, my friend from bookclub who is Jewish, that it means, “harmony, wholeness, completeness, welfare, and tranquility.” It’s rooted in a social concept of well-being for the whole group.
In the Christian scriptures, peace has come to mean:
rest: as in the absence of war,
reconciliation: as between two opposing parties,
salvation: as in having a relationship with God,
and life-giving relationships between people in a society.
Salaam, the Arabic word for “peace” has an element of safety and security in it, and it’s about the deep peace that comes from knowing God through submission to God’s will and the acceptance and surrender that comes with that, according to Jaye, my Muslim sister.
Peace, Salaam, Shalom. For an inspiring musical moment with that song by Emma’s Revolution, here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBQ-KsGo_BI
May your day be touched by angel wings.