Lion and the pursuit of Shalom

Last night I watched Lion, the true story with Dev Patel as Saroo & Nicole Kidman as his adoptive mother in the lead roles. From the very first moment I was drawn into this incredible story of love, loss and finding your home.

The film explores the ideas of loss on so many levels and the Hollywood machine does a very good job of NOT destroying the integrity of the people and their emotions. Each theme of loss was held in balance with the other. Each given space to breath and express themselves in a truly honest way.

The relationship between Saroo and his parents are handled so well. The choices that this childless couple made and the tensions between them that the adopted children from a different culture and continent were delicately expressed.

The main theme of “Who am I” runs through all the relationships:

  • Saroo and his adopted mother
  • Saroo and his adopted brother
  • Parents and both adopted children
  • Saroo and his girlfriend
  • Most significant thought was the internal battle that Dev Patel fights.

This idea of discovering who you are and where you belong is central to this story and it explores in equal measure your physical home, spiritual home and emotional home.

Physically, Saroo knew there was another place that he once called home. There was a yearning for a place he could hardly remember and a culture he knew little about, yet he knew there was a place that called him. Yet there was the place in Tasmania that had been home for 20 years with a family that had given him security that he hadn’t had.

The idea of the emotional and spiritual home is linked closely to this. Without the answers to the physical, Saroo was lost. He had no internal peace and was all at sea. He couldn’t hold his relationships and the tension was too hard to for him to carry. He had to have the answers to the many questions he had. He had to discover what was home.

The idea of finding home is a powerful one. For the young people I work with there seems to be a theme of in-balance to much of their lives where they feel that there isn’t a home. In the context of this film, home isn’t a place but of an internal peace. If home = security, and their lives have no security, be it physically, emotionally or spiritually then is there home to be found. That is why much of what I do with young people does not focus on the physical place (I leave that to social services and people above my pay grade).

My focus is on the internal battle of a quest to find home, a quest to find balance.

At my heart I am a youth worker with a passion for working with young people who are pushed out onto the edge of their worlds. I want to see young people gain wholeness.

In the Jewish tradition this could be referred to as a sense of Shalom. Shalom, like many Hebrew words, has more than one meaning.  Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.

This notion has shaped how I work with young people. Desiring more than anything else to help bring calmness, wholeness and peace into lives where anger, confusion and emptiness are the leading emotions that shape the world that these young people exist in.

My heart is always that anyone who works with young people sees beyond the physical situation that the young person is in and looks to see if we, as guides, can support them in their quest to find what is home for them. Quite possibly that will be an internal peace where chaos rules.

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