Beating triskaidekaphobia

From high-rise buildings without a 13th floor to Emergency Departments that skip Bay 13, a lot of us prefer to skip the number 13 altogether. When it comes to calendar years, though, no one ever established the leap year to avoid ’13 and appease the triskaidekaphobes. 13

I’ve always had an innate interest in numbers. As a musician, I can easily associate skills in music with skills in math. My only mental link to the concept of eternity is to associate it with numbers – the eternal continuum of numbers in two directions. As a Christian, I’ve always linked the number 3 to the Trinity, 12 to the tribes of Israel, 40 to the wandering Israelites in the desert … and somehow the number 13 has always joined the list as “unlucky.”

Anyone interested in the history of assigning 13 as an “unlucky” number can read about it online enough to get the idea that it’s a very old custom. I agree with the builders who are re-incorporating 13 into construction designs. When I was a sales director with Mary Kay Cosmetics, I learned that Mary Kay Ash was a fan of the number 13. She thought it was lucky and started her business on Friday, September 13, 1963. (I admire her for many other reasons, but I like this in particular.) We have traditionally given 13 a lot of power as “the” unlucky number.

For whatever reason, I always thought of 8 as my “lucky number.” I don’t remember how I arrived at that initially. “8” has disappointed me many times, so I sort of let that whole idea go. I was born in 1966, but not in the sixth month, so I was always happy about that. I suppose it would have been comforting to have been born in July of 1977, but that wasn’t meant to be for me.

When 2012 rolled around in the calendar, I didn’t blink an eye. What could be wrong with 2012? It seemed harmless enough as it began, and my family had some wonderful things happen in the early months of 2012: a college graduation, a beautiful wedding, the first grandchild! Weaved into that year, though, was one of the most painful things I’ve endured in life: divorce. As a country, we have endured some really challenging experiences, too. Just think about it for a minute. 2012 has been a wonderful, terrible, victorious, defeating, celebratory, mournful year. I don’t know whether to put it in the “good” or “bad” category!

So, now comes 2013. I’m not afraid of 13. I’m rather ambivalent about the number but I’m hopeful about the year. I pray for God to bless us in 2013, just like I do every other year. And God does bless us, even in the most difficult years. I suppose we think being lucky means having only good things happen to us. I’ve lived long enough to see that good and bad often tag along together. I feel lucky when my child wins two toys at once in the claw game and I feel loved and blessed when great things continue to happen for me and my children in the middle of my biggest disappointments.

Do you create slogans for each year to motivate yourself toward new goals? “See and be seen in 2013!” (Maybe not.) “Healthy and lean in 2013!” (Some of you might like that one.) “Eliminate mean in 2013!” (I wish.) 2013 may or may not be lucky, but I do pray for love and blessings for all in this new year! Hope beats luck every time.

Author: ssalvin

Mother of 3, grandmother of 2; Executive Administrator by day, associate pastor by calling, worship leader by heart, singer, songwriter, blogger ... these are the hats I wear. Who I am is a woman "becoming". I appreciate the transformation process that God graciously allows us to experience and gratefully receive it!

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