Peace Be Unto You – a standard getting in the Arab world predominated with members of the Muslim faith and a greeting I used, in its Arabic form, to break cultural and language barriers with a parent.
So grateful for that greeting, the father gestured that I sit down before he did, with a genuine smile and a knowing approval that we shared a willingness to dialogue no matter the barriers. What I discovered later, is that we also shared a deep and abiding love for our sons.
Happy at his son’s progress report, he said he would treat his son to french fries. Not not just any french fries, but the ones from Ted’s. He gestured about the cost of those, rubbing his fingers together, the international sign of expense, but a with a gleam in his eye and willingness to treat his son.
I shared with him that in my faith, Lent was coming and that we can’t eat meat on Friday and I, too, enjoy Ted’s for fish and fries. A translator helped with the logistics of the conversation, but I knew with the smiles and gestures that he understood.
My love for my son has been put to the test this week. My bond with him, forged in the womb, is a connection primal yet spiritual; with the yearning to protect him from the evils of this cruel world.
Peace be with you and with your spirit, is a standard response in my faith with a handshake or a kiss of peace.
Peace through fear, rage and betrayal is what I knew to give to my son to stabilize his soul and keep his faith, along with french fries and a milk shake.
As my Lenten journey soon begins, I harken back to my early years in the Church, in the Latin Rite. I close my eyes and knowingly can feel, see and hear the smells, the mysterious language, memorized but understood; my visceral images of faith, unity and security.
Pax Dómini sit semper vobí- Et cum spíritu tuo. As-Salaam-Alaikum. Mualaikumsalam.
Two different languages and experiences; common and familiar.
Love, peace and french fries…
Simple love for our sons.