Many years ago, during my first high holidays at Congregation Agudas Achim, I was focused on the idea of forgiveness. I had been wronged, and I wanted to forgive. I wanted to find a way past the hurt and anger, but I didn't know how to go about it.
Suddenly, during a long period of standing prayer on Yom Kippur, amid a sea of people I did not know, the Hebrew word Shalom leapt off the page at me. It was almost tangible. All four letters became larger and I traced my finger along them, soaking them in.
The power of that moment stays with me to this day. I'm still not sure I can put its meaning into words, beyond the obvious.
I think that was a moment along a path of forgiveness. I did not suddenly find peace with the situation, but I found a path towards peace. I did not magically forgive those who wronged me, suddenly free of all bitterness and anger. But I learned that day to bring that palpable experience of shalom to my interactions with them.
All these years later I see the fruits of that journey of forgiveness. I see the ways it enabled me to conduct myself with integrity and kindness. And I am grateful for the beauty, power, and wisdom of shalom.