“Monday Musings” for Monday September 29, 2014
Volume IV, No. 39/139
(Editor’s note: We are devoting this week’s ‘MM’ to the observance of the birthday of a grandchild)
By Assad Meymandi, MD, PhD, DLFAPA*
Dearest beloved granddaughter, Maggie:
Tomorrow you will traverse the epistemic threshold of 14, a beautiful 14 years old young lady. Fourteen is an important number and you are an important person. On this sacred occasion, your fourteenth birthday, I want to use a deuterocanonical scalpel and carefully dissect the meaning of fourteen for you and your family. Reading the Bible, besides allowing the reader to acquire knowledge and strengthen faith, is most enjoyable and fun. Numbers in the Bible are very important. Why, for example, in the Gospel of John there are 153 fishes (the correct grammar is fish but the Bible says fishes) caught by the disciples. Why the number was not 152 or 155? Numbers in the Bible become a very complicated science. They are mysterious and loaded with meaning and cryptic messages. Back to your birthday and your age fourteen:
In deuterocanonical tradition, the number one is reserved for Yahweh, the Lord, God. The number two is reserved for people and communities. It takes two to witness a legal event such as marriage. Three is a holy and celestial number, such as the Holy Trinity. Four is earthly, denoting directions such as north, south, east and west, or the early man’s conception of the composition of life and existence relegated to four elements, namely Fire, Air, Earth and Water. Four is a worldly and terrestrial number. Add three and four, or celestial (3) and terrestrial (4) numbers and you get seven, symbolic of “completion” and “completeness”, heaven and earth. Multiply seven by two, or twice seven, and you get a super perfect number and that is your age, 14. A super perfect, super accomplished number. And you are a super person, super accomplished and you are intellectually and emotionally superior.
A joyous birthday to you not only today but every day of your entire life. A large component of joy is the gift of learning in a home and environ filled with love, compassion, music, dance, poetry and flowers.
I love you,
PS. After I wrote this, the thought came to me to do a longer piece on the subject matter for a future “Monday Musings”. Thank you for your catalytic beneficence.
*The writer is Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill, Distinguished Life fellow American Psychiatric Association, and Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief, Wake County Physician Magazine (1995-2012). He serves as a Visiting Scholar and lecturer on Medicine, the Arts and Humanities at his alma mater the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health.