It happened rather subconsciously. I was in my hotel room right off the Costa Rican beach jotting down resolutions for the year that was about to begin. There were the typical ones I had been writing down since I was little – daily devotions, exercise regularly, practice piano every day – nothing unfamiliar. And then, almost as an afterthought, I scribbled something about learning what it meant to live holistically. I wasn’t sure what I meant, or how I would know if I actually attained this resolution. But I wrote it down anyway, and then set the pen and the list down and joined my family on the beach to welcome in the New Year.
Some moments have God’s hand more clearly on them than others. The making of that list nearly three years ago was one of those moments. The year to come was a tumultuous one, filled to the brim with significant events, transitions, and relationships, and in it all I wrestled with what it meant to be whole. The concept even found its way, rather unintentionally, into several exegetical papers and even my senior thesis as I finished my college degree. I would be sitting in my corner spot at Starbucks proofreading my work and suddenly find myself in tears, convicted and inspired by own words. I knew I was stumbling onto a treasure.
The treasure was simply this: To live a holistic life we must be whole people, and people are only made whole by the Spirit’s gift of peace.
Peace. There’s the word that you were waiting for. Two paragraphs in and I haven’t even mentioned the theme of these writings.
Well there you have it. My discovery of what peace actually means. Holistic living. I might have called this thirty-one days of holistic living, but you may have been deterred by the lack of spiritual wording and stayed away from fear of being put on some strange diet. I guess I’m sorry for luring you here with a pretty picture and the most idealized word in our current culture.
Among my most cherished memories from my college years was the hour spent orally defending my senior thesis. You laugh, but I’m completely honest. I met in a quiet office with three of my favorite professors on a bright April afternoon and we discussed the words I had painstakingly written. Their brilliant minds and warm hearts enhanced all that I had been researching and pondering for the past semester, and my soul was inspired. Amid the discussion and editorial remarks came the most profound statement on this subject I had yet discovered.
My thesis mentioned the Hebrew word shalom, which we translate as peace, carrying with it the connotation of fullness, completeness, and perfection. As we conversed over this subject, one of the professors quietly noted her understanding of peace. Nothing Missing, Nothing broken.
At that moment this short five-lettered word broke open to me and Christ burst forth. This life, this life of peace, is what we’re called to. It’s not just about breaking up a squabble or finding quiet moments by a stream. It is a word that is meant to invade every aspect of every life. In the minute, in the profound, we are meant to experience peace. Shalom. Nothing Missing, Nothing Broken.
I couldn’t think of many singular subject matters that I could write on for thirty-one days without running out of ideas or finishing all I had to say.
Peace isn’t something that I’ll run of ideas about because it speaks to every aspect of my life, be it dishes, running, or teaching Chopin.
Peace won’t be finished in my life until I’ve finished my life.