the hope of all these things (my one word)

Last year was the first year I officially chose a word to hang as a banner over 12 months. The word was given to me in a flash of a second and I knew that it was the one I was to walk under. The word was “expect” – and let me just be honest, nothing happened last year that I expected. It was a year littered with grief and suffering and heartache and little gifts of light to sustain me along the way.

I heard God whisper at the beginning of 2013 that I can and should expect big things from him. I did. I tried to, anyway. Don’t be mistaken, not everything I expected from him came about –  in fact, most didn’t. But I hope that this past year cultivated one thing in me – love. I hope that 2013 can be marked by love. It was, after all, the year I learned to love and see people well. It was the year I learned to be seen and known and, get this…loved.

I want to look back at 2013 as the year I didn’t expect love to show up…

…and it did anyway.

There is not one part of me that is sad to see the year 2013 in the rearview mirror.
I am grateful that it is done and maybe one day I will be grateful it happened.

But here I sit – on a cold, rainy ninth day of the year with much anticipation about what this year will hold. The possibilities are endless. And since this is my space and I get to be as honest as I want, I will go ahead and tell you that I am scared out of my mind. This year holds the possibility of a move, of a job change, of me choosing me (for once), of figuring out who I am and where I fit and how I can use the gifts and talents I have been given to make this world a bit more tolerable {beautiful} for those around me. The next 356 days have much to offer.

This year, another word has chosen me. It is a word that is spoken over me every time I leave the house and it is usually the last word before I head to bed each night. It is only fitting that I will march {proudly} into 2014 carrying this word before me and dragging it behind me. The word this year is very well known and most people would assure you they know exactly the definition. But the meaning and weight of the word goes much deeper than the surface you are thinking of.


You may immediately throw your hand in the air, demanding to be called on, because, of course, you know that Shalom means peace. You would be right, but only partially. Shalom is a Hebrew word that, depending on the vowels used or variations of the word, has a multitude of deep and heavy meanings.

For lack of a better way to name all of the meanings without this turning into a novel comparable with “War and Peace”, I am going to just list these things out and then maybe name a couple of my favorites.

Shalom –
–       peace between two entities
–       well-being
–       state of safety
–       to make amends
–       to make good
–       to be (or make) peace
–       to restore
–       prosperity
–       wholeness

Variations of Shalom –
–       [hishtalem] “it was worth it”
–       [shulam] “it was paid for”
–       [meshulam] “paid in advance
–       [shalam] “hope of wholeness”

Gah, there is so much hope in all of that, so much good. I never would have picked this word for myself because I have a hard time believing good things happen to/for me. So when this word became part of my daily routine and I began talking to a friend about it, she immediately exclaimed “this is absolutely your word for the year.” So there it was. I decided this would be “the one” and then I looked up all the different meanings and blessings it holds. My first thought was I was walking into this year proclaiming peace but it turns out to be so much more than that.

This year has all the potential in the world to be a year of peace and safety and rest and restoration. All these things wrapped into one. I may get to look back over this year and say “it was worth it.” The year was worth it. Everything that led up to this year was worth it. Oh God, I hope to be able to say that.

So, I will pray blessings over this year. I will pray health blessings, joy blessings, work blessings, creative blessings, sleep blessings, writing blessings, driving blessings, dinner blessings, and art blessings. I will pray for and hope for all the blessings. But most of all, I will pray shalom. I will pray for peace and amends and restoration and well-being. I will pray for safety and I will pray for prosperity. I will pray for wholeness and the hope of it.

Not only will I pray for it, but I will GET UP and work towards it.
I can’t make it happen, but I can focus my efforts toward that end. And so I will.

Here’s to 2014.
Here’s to peace. And safety. And wholeness.
Here’s to the hope of all these things.
Here’s to Shalom.

And that’s something worth raising my glass. 


13 thoughts on “the hope of all these things (my one word)

  1. One word can contain so much richness. I love the one you have chosen and I think the various meanings will shed a lot of grace on your year. I pray it is so.
    Oh, my brilliant poet friend, I would love to see you write a collection of poems, each diving into one of the meanings of shalom. I mean, you don’t have to if that’s too much pressure, but maybe let the idea simmer and see what might come of it. (p.s. perhaps you already started with the post before this one, and your blessing/prayer in this one, no?)

    • “Brilliant poet friend” wow. Thank you. Thank you. I would love to write a collection of poems, but don’t know that anyone would be interested in reading them. Hah. Thank you for walking with me.

  2. Pingback: Shalom, My Enemy | Letter to A Sociopath

  3. Many years ago, I heard that a literal translation of shalom is nothing missing, nothing broken…. That picture of wholeness, completeness — that God sees me with nothing missing even when I feel totally broken — has carried me through the most painful of seasons. I got shalom tattooed on my wrist in Hebrew, because I wanted/needed a tangible, visible reminder of God’s truth and promise for me… Praying that this year, that truth and promise sinks down deep in your heart….

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