Have you ever wondered why someone decided to wear that dress, shoes, or pants? Well, some people thanked me for wearing my favorite t-shirt today, my blue” Peace” t-shirt. The shirt has the word “Peace” written in six different languages. It was a gift from a friend that went to a conference in Paris a few years ago.
Every time I wear the t-shirt, I love to see people’s reactions to it. Mostly, it produces smiles and nods. The reaction today was more engaging; people stopped and looked me in the eye and said, “We need a lot more of that now, don’t we?” And I respond with a smile and a nod and say, “Yes, we do!”
Earlier this week, I went to 7-Eleven to get a Slurpee for a very pregnant colleague and myself. We both had cravings for a frosty drink. As I was standing fifth in line, I noticed that the Middle Eastern cashier greeted the other Middle Eastern people before me with the word “Salaam.” I thought to myself, “Why haven’t I noticed this greeting before today?” When I came up to purchase my drinks, as you can expect, I didn’t get a “Salaam” greeting. I don’t know why but I felt a little wounded and disappointed.
After letting this feeling stay with me for a while, I realized something. Every week in Mass we say, “Peace by with you.” This takes place before the Communion. Reflecting over a few Masses that I have been at, I don’t think everyone takes these words the same way. We give various forms of handshakes, hugs, kisses and during flu season, a simple Peace Sign is flashed to each other.
According to “My Catholic Blog,” the origin for this part of Mass comes from Luke 24:35-48 when Jesus is leaving the disciples. He desires that peace be with them as a new community. In light of what is going lately in the world, I need to pause and be a little more mindful about this gesture.
I guess wearing my t-shirt today was my way of greeting others with peace outside Mass. So, maybe it isn’t the words, but it’s the actions that need to make peace real in our daily lives. I am going to challenge myself this week and go to 7-Eleven to say “Salaam” to the cashier.
I have a feeling that there will be a Part Two to this story.
Paix (French word for Peace)