Dear awesome, conscious, inquisitive, diverse, and thoughtful readers,
First of all, you look great today. Really. Are you doing something new with your hair? Maybe it’s just the early spring light, but there’s a glow about you this morning. Whatever you’re doing, keep it up.
Secondly, I have a surprise for you. I’m turning 36 today! Ok, I guess it’s not really a surprise, but it feels that way to me since just a few years ago I was heading out to a hot night at the bowling alley looking like this:
Here are some of the things I thought I’d be doing when I was 36:
- Living next door to my best friend and sharing a backyard with our tall, gorgeous husbands and children
- Dropping my 6 year old son Shane and 8 year old daughter Rosa off at school (Shane? Really?)
- Pounding a gavel and demanding order in my courtroom
- Wrapping wounds in the ER where news of my skill and grace would travel far and wide making me a world famous nurse (my mother said this was possible because of Florence Nightingale so it was a dream I held onto for many years)
- Teaching social studies to calm and attentive students
- Fronting a famous all girl rock band on vocals and guitar
WARNING: you might want to sit down and slap on your yarmulke ’cause i’m about to get Jewish on you.
You’ve probably heard the Hebrew phrase l’chaim, meaning to life. It’s often used as a toast. Well, the root word, chai, is made up of the letters het and yod. And since Hebrew letters are also numbers, every word has a numerical equivalent (based on ancient gematria and mystical numerology). In simple terms, chai = 18… and 18 = life!
Because of its lucky number status, monetary gifts are often given in multiples of 18. I remember my short stint as a tele-fundraiser for United Jewish Appeal. The handbook directed me to ask for a thousand dollars, then five hundred, on down to a hundred, and if they still wouldn’t give in, I was supposed to hit them with, “How about 54 dollars? That would be triple chai! That would be great!” Our calls were monitored and if the word chai wasn’t delivered with the authentic phlem clearing inflection, we were in trouble. I lasted one afternoon. Not because I couldn’t pronounce chai, but because I couldn’t bear cold calling people and reading to them from a script. The UJA has never recovered from my absence and this is why we see continued unrest in the middle east today.
Anyway, you may have gathered that the number 36 is 2×18, which makes it double chai. And double chai is extra special because it equals two lives!
Now, I don’t believe in a god who invented us, spies on us, and adds us to the guest list at Club Heaven if we’ve been good. But I do believe that the natural order of things is beautiful and that it can be found in an oil painting, the smile of a stranger, the smell of a sweet potato in the oven or an algebraic equation. I figure if god is anywhere, she’s in the numbers.
Thanks for all your support and I hope you’ll keep reading. In the meantime, if you haven’t subscribed to receive my new posts by email, do it now by clicking the subscribe link on the upper right! If you already have, pass it on to a friend, or 36. Consider it my birthday gift.