A good number of people have asked why I seem to be so obsessed with the number twenty-three. I’ll devote a few paragraphs here to give you the condensed version of why the prime number has become a big part of my life. I don’t expect anyone to claim any significance the way I have, but will ask for a few minutes of your time to give you some background.
For twenty-five of my twenty-nine years in the public school classroom, math was one of the subjects I taught. To be honest, I never really was that good in math, but my struggle to understand concepts I believe helped me to reach those that were going through similar struggles. It was the “I’ve been where you are and know how you feel” mentality. So it suffices to say numbers have always been an important part of my life.
About eight years ago, I was going through a particularly difficult time in my life and to be honest, not a whole lot of anything made any sense. Separation and eventual divorce, recovery from addiction, and general upheaval has a way of doing that to you. A fellow teacher, noting that I was really struggling, suggested I take up the hobby of numerology. While I wasn’t a person that put a whole lot of store in what the numerologists seemed to be implying, it did peak my interest. Somewhere along the way, I discovered the number twenty-three kept showing up over and over in my life. That was the seed it took for me to study the number even further.
During my “investigation” I found out that both of my parents were twenty-three years old when I was born. I was conceived in 1958 and those digits sum to twenty-three as well. My son is twenty-three years younger than I am and my daughter was born on my sister’s twenty-third birthday. Needless to say, the beginning of life is important to all and the presence of those numbers at my life’s beginning was too obvious to ignore. * Note – I can say with some certainty that I was conceived on October 9, 1958, but I don’t want to raise your skepticism too early.
I also took a look at my birthdate in its numerical form: 7/6/1959. If you sum the first four digits, you get twenty-three. If you sum the last two digits, you get 14. Since I am a person of the Christian faith, I began to look at the 23-14 combinations I could find in the Bible. The first reading that seemed to have significance was Numbers 23:14. It was there I found the name of the church I attend, Mt. Pisgah.
The next significant passage came from 2 Samuel 23:14, which contains the name “David” and “Bethlehem”. David is the name I was given at birth and Bethlehem is the name of the town where Mt. Pisgah is located. The most puzzling verse is Matthew 23:14. In most translations of the Bible it’s not listed. The Gospel of Matthew goes from 23:13 to 23:15.
So what did I take from all this you might ask? In a time during my life when not a whole lot was making any sense, I turned to God to find meaning. I was fortunate enough to be raised in a home where church was an important element. But it wasn’t until this difficult time in life when any of it began to take hold. The different scriptures gave me assurance and bolstered my faith to the fact that God knew exactly what was going on in my life. He had been there at the beginning and I had no reason to question He was still with me now.
So each time I see the number twenty-three, it’s like a “wink from God” that says amidst the chaos of my life, He is ever present…. He always has been and He always will be. Now do I sometimes carry it a bit too far? Perhaps so, but it’s something that I’ve held onto during the darkest valleys of life and I’m not about to let go. I know some may think it’s pure nonsense and insignificant, but then it was God talking to me through a language He knew that I would understand and pay attention to.
And that my friends is the short version. There are a lot of other situations that the number has kept showing up. I just have to smile and know that there is One that knows me and will always have my best interest in mind.