How to pray for a miracle of peace?


I examine my words like clothing in a thrift shop. Each one shedding a history, yearning to tell a new story. Hanging on a rack, I pass my fingers on the worn curves, purse my lips lamenting the incorrectness of the fit. The meaning has been recycled in too many spins, all the juice is gone. I need to invent a new language. Find words that have never been heard before. Upon utterance, meaning shall arrange itself into bottomless vessels. We shall float on top, holding hands, buoyant …. feeling relief. 

Here is a made-up word: Harmonélega 

A wiser, stronger and better person would have risen above all the challenges and become part of a solution. Harmonélega was not on my side. I was turning into a person I myself didn’t like. My solution was to get out of there. I left Israel/Palestine determined to forget about it. Block it out of my brain and live my best harmonélega life in Vancouver. 

Here is another made-up word: Habibliss 

The problem with travelling as a means of avoidance is that you take yourself with you. For months now, I have been confronting that old self. There is comfort in recognition, but also horror. In September I was riding high. I was taking stock. Embracing the habibliss woman that I have become. Marveling at the progress I have made. Feeling invincible. “I can tackle anything!” I told myself in pride. That was a fleeting moment and boom! One month gave way to another. And so I sat every morning praying to find peace in my heart. When you are sick you wish for health. In war you seek peace. Ironically, I read The Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandella while living in Jerusalem. There is a small anecdote that I keep reflecting on. 

Nelson Mandella was a young man who hasn’t achieved his political awareness yet. One day he was walking down the street where he came upon a white woman digging through garbage looking for something to eat. He was so moved by the sight; he immediately gave her all the money in his pocket even though he himself was poor. Later when reflecting on his action he realized that he sees black people in that same predicament all the time and yet is not inspired towards the similar action. As a result of growing up in a racist society he has internalized its values. Seeing a white person suffering was unbearable and needed to be corrected immediately. Seeing a black person suffer was simply everyday life. Nelson Mandela realizes that he must liberate his own mind and his own heart before he goes onto liberating a whole country. 

Made-up word warning ahead: Jubiloom 

It’s not like I am comparing myself to Nelson Madela or anything. I just want to do my tiny seed of difference. And so I prayed for peace. Every morning, for months I attempted to find that feeling in my heart. I don’t want to act out of despair, anger or revulsion. 

At first I tried to visualize concrete things: 

Powerful men in suits shaking hands. 

Children playing in a playground. 

Happy people living side by side. 

Those images unravel into shreds. I can’t hold on to them. It feels like I am attempting to bottle the moon light. 

And so I decided to go more general and perhaps in place of peace if I aim for solace, it would be better. 

The path to the magical jubiloom sensation came by repeating simple sentences. So simple they border or kitsch.  

There is always hope. 

From within every hardship comes ease. Even this. 

The wheel of history is always turning. Those who are strong become weak and those who are weak become strong. With every cycle, humanity expands in consciousness and we learn a lesson we thought was beyond our grasp. 

I feel inspired that South Africa which had a difficult path towards liberating itself from Apartheid is leading the path to inspire other nations towards their own liberation. How cool is that? 

One day, in the future, murdering children will be so abhorrent to us that no excuse will be accepted as justification. No matter the race of these children. 

There is no military solution to this. Only diplomacy.

Everyday I do the work. I construct a deconstructed mind into organized chaos. Some days the jubiloom lasts for hours, others 10 minutes. I am yet to achieve a full day. 

You know the drill by now: Serenoodle 

And thusly I contemplate this work of art hanging on my wall. I received it as a gift on my birthday two years ago. I had went to an art exhibit by artists from Gaza and this particular painting by Mohammed Alhaj captured my attention. The thing I appreciate about it, is that it feels hopeful despite the evident destruction. I didn’t buy it because of expense. I went home and described the exhibit and my favorite work of art in it to my husband. Several months later he walked home, on my birthday with the framed painting. He contacted the organizer of the art exhibit, managed to find the exact painting from my description. Had it framed. Hid it in his office for months. I suppose the thing I find most touching is that I felt heard. The fact that my husband was paying attention to the things I said and managed to select the correct work of art out of a hundred. And if Mohammed Alhaj living in Gaza can use his imagination and infuse his creation with hopefulness. Then I have no excuses. 

I wish I could conclude this blog post by telling you that harmonélega, habibliss, jubiloom and serenoodle combined together from the four corners of the world and came up with a new word. The word. A meaning so fresh, that nobody has learned to doubt it yet. But such lofty things evade me.

I hope your attempts of prayer are more successful. 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *