Numbers With Feathers

Add the last two digits of your birth year and the age you’ll be this year — and you’ll get 111. Try it. A friend told me about this at the start of 2011. Really, the total will be 111. And for several weeks now, I’ve been seeing “1:11” quite often, morning and evening. Sometimes I get a reprieve for a day, but it always comes back. And now “11:11” too.

Each time it happens, it takes me off guard. It’s when I’m looking for it that it doesn’t happen. As strange as it is, I like it. I think it’s God’s way of getting my attention. Maybe He’s using this numbers experience to say, “I’m still here and all is well, in spite of how life looks sometimes…”

And I keep getting reminders about the seasons — that we all go through (note the operative word through) seasons, including the challenging times.

As for the last two digits of the birth year and age, it fascinates me, one of those things you just can’t explain. Maybe it’s His way of showing us how perfectly designed everything is, how perfectly designed we are. In spite of flaws, there is His perfection in each one of us. And order and harmony and beauty exist even in numbers.

Or maybe seeing “1:11” and “11:11” on a recurring basis is just one of those random “things”… But that seems unlikely.

I think God’s using these recurring numbers for encouragement, especially because He knows I’m not a numbers person — and never have been. Yet, numbers are intriguing, in spite of my not-so-great past with them…

Math was my worst subject. In grade school, I had big trouble with fractions. It wasn’t until my brother placed four quarters and a dollar bill in front of me that I grasped the concept. And in high school, I should’ve failed geometry, except that I stayed after for extra help almost every day, and so my kind teacher passed me with a D.

The next year, I took consumer math. I could handle that. But in college, the math requirement reared its ugly head. This time, though, I understood the concepts better; the professor had made math make sense. I’m still not sure how he did that, and math is still not my strongest subject, but I came out of that class with a B, which made me feel like I had climbed a rugged mountain and paraglided down the other side. I was happy.

But then there was astronomy, one of my electives. I was so looking forward to learning about the planets and the solar system. But the professor teaching that course hadn’t taught an undergrad class in 10 years – and he concentrated on mathematical formulas. And I took the summer session, which meant hours each day, for crazy consecutive days, in just a few weeks. And guess who stayed after every day for extra help… And guess who slunk away with a D when she should’ve failed… Sigh.

Fast forward. The last time I remember recurring numbers happening over a big block of time was in high school. (And, no, they weren’t geometrical nightmares.  ;  )  I used to oversleep, in spite of using an alarm clock, then would have to rush to make it to my first class on time, sometimes getting there right as the bell rang. Maybe deep down it was because I really never liked school past the sixth grade, until I got to college. But anyway, because I overslept, one night I said a quick prayer, one of those kinds where you just say something, not really thinking much about it: “God, please have one of your angels wake me up.”

And the next morning, I woke up to what felt like feathers brushing my nose – and it wouldn’t quit until I sat up in bed, rubbing my nose to make it stop – and then the alarm would go off.  I can’t remember the exact time, but for one whole school week, the same thing would happen, in that order, at the same exact time. At the end of that week, this experience started to freak me out a little. So I just prayed again and said, “Um, God. That’s okay. Thanks.” And it’s never happened since.

Well, I never told anyone that story for maybe a couple of years. I knew it was strange, and I didn’t want to be perceived as strange (or more than maybe I already was…). But one day, when one of my sisters was visiting with my mom in the kitchen, they were talking about some spiritual experiences, and so I piped up with mine. And they got quiet. And started doing things. I remember my mom doing dishes. So I asked what was wrong. They both said, “Nothing.”

So I asked again: “No, really. What’s wrong? When I told you what happened, you got quiet. Why?” “Well,” my mom said, “it’s just that when you were a baby, sometimes your dad would wake you up by rubbing a feather under your nose…” Okay. Goosebumps. Still.  My dad moved on to Heaven when I was 14. This will be something I’ll have fun asking Jesus about someday. Because He either gave my dad angel duty for that week, or He told one of His authentic angels to do that. In either case, it was another way that God was saying, “I’m here! I hear you! You’re not alone!”

He’s here… He hears you… And you’re not alone…

Somehow, this great God of ours holds everything together… Everything in the universe… Everything on this planet… Everything in our own little worlds… I think He’s always trying to get our attention, using what He knows will take us out of our everyday lives for a moment, a moment to look up. At Him. And get our eyes off of what’s troubling us. What love… Strange and wonderful and perfect, all at the same time… Like mixing numbers with feathers…


2 thoughts on “Numbers With Feathers

  1. This is very interesting. I never knew that you had so much trouble with math. So did I. I always hated it. I also didn’t like school very much. That was neat the way Dad would wake you up with a feather. I can just see him doing that.

  2. We have a lot in common, Dot. : ) Although we didn’t grow up together since you were out of the house and had your own family by the time I came along, I’m glad you’re my big sis. : ) Love you!

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