Church Innovations’ Partners Post

October 30, 2009

11 Days In: What Am I Looking For, Again?



Why is it that, when I am looking for peace, abundance, shalom, life seems to want to bother me with irritating things? Highway congestion. People’s nervous tics that they don’t notice but which suddenly loom large for me. Bad usage and spelling on signs. Anxiety and frustration seem to me suddenly to be everywhere. Is this just a bad time for a peace-quest?  Or am I just especially tuned in to whatever seems to be standing in my way?  Hmmm.


I am trying like anything to keep in mind that the peace that I seek is not tranquility, the absence of work or struggle. The peace I seek is abundance, shalom, the fullness of life.  Tranquility peace may be found in a silent cemetery.  But that is not where I live my life.  Abundance-shalom peace may be present in a silent cemetery, too, but it is also in a house overflowing with people or an argument or a noisy fair-going crowd or a phone call inside a party inside a restaurant inside a very busy day.  If I block out the noise, I’ll lose the music; if I withdraw to stillness, I’ll lose the movement.


Spiritual practices are what I need to help me listen deeply amid noise, see the particular amid crowds, recognize the movement of God amid strangeness.  I believe I have had those skills in my lifetime, but I think, like musical talent, such skills may get rusty with disuse. A quest for the kind of peace I’m seeking, I am learning, is not purely accidental. While I am sure that the Lord will bless my search for peace, abundance, shalom with delightful surprises, I must also work at the habits of noticing so that I’ll see them when I’m in them. What do you think?


Peace. Pat


  1. Pat- firstly- I like your style of blogging- so easy to read- such good writing skills!! Secondly I like your topic. Why do we have clocks in Church towers? why not symbols of peace and abundance?
    We need to re-define our identity and rest in christ. We can learn so much from our African brothers en sisters about time- for them(us) the meeting do not start at the right time but when the time is right- may be we start to many things on the right time – but when the time in not right

    Comment by Frederick Marais — November 1, 2009 @ 1:33 pm

  2. Frederick – I like this very much: the right time, but not when the time is right.
    Then “rightness” is what we are trying to discern in discernment – and which “rightness.”
    And not the “rightness” of legalistically correct, but the “rightness” of “fullness, when all things come together, convergence” – shalom!

    Comment by Pat Ellison — November 2, 2009 @ 8:50 am

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