Saturday 7 December 2019

Eighteen? Chai!

Porcelain Anniversary 

I was thinking this morning..... about eighteen (18). I sat up by the side of my bed this morning counting my blessings. I started with my fingers and by the time I got to 18, I had almost run out of toes to count. As I reflected on 18, I said 'chai!' I did exclaim not because I am sad but because the Hebrew word for 'life' is חי (chai), which has a numerical value of 18. Interesting, right? When I say 'Chai,' I am referring to life which is equal to 18.

Flashes of 18 was all over my face as I reflected on the many occasions I have encountered 18 in this my journey of life, or should I say 'Chai'

Years before I turned 18, I was a student of Hussey college Warri. One subject I loved was chemistry. Our teacher then, Mrs Oputa I believe, taught us that the 18th group of the periodic table are known as the noble gases for being the least reactive because of the 18 electron rule. Since then I learnt not to be too reactive so that I can become noble. Chai! While still smarting from an enjoyable chemistry class, then walked in our Mathematics teacher, Shedrach Ogboru, and confused me, by saying that 18 is an abundant number, as the sum of its proper divisors is greater than itself (1+2+3+6+9 = 21). 18 showed up again, but this time to confuse me. Haba! How can a number be abundant and be greater than itself? Chai!

Not long after I left secondary school, I encountered 18 again when I turned 18 years. In most countries, 18 is the age of adulthood, the legal age for driving, drinking and voting. Though I don't drink alcohol, I am still thankful for the privilege to drive and vote not minding that my vote seem not to count in Nigeria. 

As I grew up, I fell in love with certain sports. My biggest love is football, where 'the 18' is a slang term for the penalty area also called the '18 yard box.' I never liked golf until Tiger Woods got on the scene and I learnt that there are 18 holes on a regulation golf course. Polo...that game that they play riding on horses? Naaa!! Not for me, maybe because I learnt horses usually have 18 pairs of ribs and 18 bones in their tails. Bones in the tail? Chai!

I left school, got a job and got born again. I started reading the bible with the eyes of the Spirit. 18 started showing up on the pages of the holy book. First, I discovered in Judges 10:8 that the people of Israel were oppressed for 18 years by the Ammonites. Then, on one particular Sabbath, while teaching in a Synagogue, Jesus healed a woman that had a 'spirit of infirmity' which had bent her over for 18 years! As I marveled at some of the names in the bible, I found out that two of the longest names in Scripture are composed of 18 letters. They are Jonathelemrechokim (in the title of Psalm 56) and Mahershalalhashbaz (the name of Isaiah's son in Isaiah 8:1. Imagine giving your child any of these names. Chai!

There is something about 18 today that is making me so comfortable. Could it be because a comfortable room temperature is 18 degrees Celsius? No. I checked and my AC was off. Bang!!! I know why now. Today is the 18th anniversary of my marriage, which is called Porcelain anniversary. But why is it called Porcelain anniversary? Porcelain is not only elegant and refined, it is also durable and long-lasting—just like our marriage after 18 years together. Chai!

Because life (Chai) has a numerical value of 18, the custom has arisen in Jewish circles to give donations and monetary gifts in multiples of 18 as an expression of blessing for long life. For my young wife and I, we cannot but give God thanks in multiples of 18 for the many blessings He has bestowed on us and on this day, all we can say is thank you Lord for 'Chai'

Happy Sunday and Happy 18th anniversary to us. 

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

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