Already? Wow it is. Another Friday and I’ve got to get caught up as this week just flew by. All kinds of things need to be done today, catch up on messages, scrub the kitchen floor and yes this Free Form Friday edition of “Becoming Today”.
Let’s begin with a topic concerning fear. I know a happy note, right? However for many who may be in what are usually safe places today still there are a certain number of those on high alert today. These people are concerned about Triskaidekaphobia.
Are you one of them?
Simply defined triskaidekaphobia is the “extreme superstition regarding the number thirteen”.
So widely accepted at points in history, still in 21st century construction highrises and skyscrapers do not have a floor labeled “13”. Countless elevator buttons go from 12 to 14 and now some are afraid doing so confuses firefighters in an emergency.
In fact in Canada one development seeking to not only acknowledge and thereby reinforce the fear of 13, also built a 60-story tower that only has 53 floors. In addition to no thirteenth level designations, they also omitted not only the number 4 but all digits that ended in the numeral, such as 14, 24, etc…
That’s because of an eastern superstition in which the spoken word from four sounds a lot like the word for death. That’s called tetraphobia.
So where did all this begin?
That may depend upon your ancestry or where you were raised.
Among the many false teachings of my youth was a claim that it was because the day Jesus was crucified was on a Friday the 13th. I can’t find anyone trying to support that notion, but many Christians, especially in the western perspective seem to place the blame on Judas.
The Apostle who betrayed Jesus, to give him over for trial, torture and cruxifiixtion, was the 13th person to be seated at the “Last Supper”, which took place on what is now marked as “Maundy Thursday”.
Now in other traditions including the ones we draw our names for the days of the week from which they also blame a 13th individual for the bad luck associated with it. In Norse mythology it’s said that their god Loki showed up uninvited to a banquet with their 12 other gods. He created havoc and that’s why today you should be fearful of a black cat crossing your path.
Highly illogical, yet still spoken of. Not to be out done, professionals who treat people for their irrational fears, refer to this one not just as triskaidekaphobia, but rather friggatriskaidekaphobia.
Now try and say that three times real fast. With references dating back to 1910 in the Journal ‘Abnormal Psychology’, the clinical term is explained as, a “morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th”.
Now triskaidekaphobia comes from the Ancient Greeks and the term frigga, from a variation of the name of a Norse goddess. Certainly revealing an around the globe historical connection to this superstition.
As you can probably tell, I myself do not believe in these superstitions, however I’ll note that words do have meanings and those meanings have power.
So if there were a day to be considered worthy of fear I guess it could be Friday. Whether it’s the 13th or not because our English word Friday comes from the Norse as “Frigg’s Day”. And she was said to be responsible for making war.
War is something where fear is rational…
As the images on the evening news, which we no longer have to wait till suppertime to see, as they are literally available every second of every day, reinforce there is much to be afraid of especially in the Ukraine.
Just last night I saw the video of what was once a shady lane with about five houses on a dirt road in what we might call an unincorporated area. No military bases or presence, no police stations, no centers of infrastructure. Simply a once peaceful spot, where the residents there were all described as elderly.
Peaceful no more, none of those houses are inhabitable and the missile craters have even dug deep into the earth making the roads a memory rather than a functional method of transportation.
Yet in that devastation and the cries for help, there was a scene that inspires hope.
I’ll share that in a moment but it reminded me of an insight I shared in “Still The Birds Sing”. That too was on a Friday, February 25th. The day after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
At the time I noted, “As I prepared yesterday’s conversation at 11:11 pm my time, as I wrote about the need to come together in prayer, I witnessed it in action.
There it was captured on video during live coverage by CNN.
Honestly not something I would usually be watching, perhaps this was the reason why I channel surfed there.
After the initial round of airstrikes and just before the first tanks rolled across from Belarus, there was a small group of Ukrainian women coming together in strength. They knelt down on the square in Kharkiv, that nation’s second largest city, which is roughly the size of Dallas, Texas, the 4th largest city in America.
They gathered in a circle, on their knees and were quite obviously praying. I can only surmise seeking peace and asking for protection…
I just wanted to let these women know they were not alone. Even as they entered the square, while I was some 5,800 miles ( 9,300 kilometers) away I was there with them and myself in prayer with and for them”.
It’s bravery like these unnamed women demonstrated that too often goes overlooked.
The courage to venture out into uncertain quickly devolving circumstances, shows their fortitude. Their commitment to step out into the light and publicly take action based on their values and beliefs is the kind of character that we should all be seeking to be “becoming” of.
So while perhaps the top of mind definition for peace is aligned with being the opposite of war – when seeking for and praying for peace it is so much more with all attributes empowering us to continue on and allow for healing and correction.
Peace can have many meanings, including living without fear. It is an instruction that is repeated multiple times in religious teachings around the world. In fact in English translations of the Christian Bible there are 365 references to the phrase.
Yes one for every day of the year, except that occasional year that if you’re superstitious you may choose to leap over. Anyway 365 times certainly indicates the message is important.
Included in those is Isaiah 41:10, where God says,“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand”.
I saw evidence of that belief again. As I witnessed through technology the scene of a senior aged woman, struggling to drag something from beyond a wall of debris.
She unassisted pulled and pulled, on something. It was revealed to be a single strip of metal roofing, which she loaded onto a baby buggy and began pushing down her path.
To where? We do not know, she doesn’t even know, but she believed it important to retain that one memory of what was once her home.
Holding onto the positive remembrances of a past that no longer exists and a future uncertain she demonstrated that putting faith over fear and believing in her strengths from within- that no matter how great the odds or how prevalent the fear, she could, would and is continuing forward on her path towards “Becoming”.
So on this Friday the 13th, some 2 months, 2 weeks and 6 days from when a war that it’s instigators declared would be over in 48 hours rages on we are shown that fear is real, but so is the ability to reject it, chose to move past and trust in our values and beliefs.
It’s only if you do not, if you choose to succumb to fear, to allow yourself to be imprisoned by it, that the enemy wins.
So even on this Frigg’s day I pray you have a safe and blessed day. That you are winning your own battles and searching higher for your outcomes.
I also hope you don’t spend this day fearing walking under ladders, trying to avoid cracks in the pavement to prevent sending your mother to the hospital or driving 13 miles out of the way to avoid a black cat from crossing your path.
Fears and even phobias are real, but they can be laughable if you take the steps to reject or overcome them. For some that may require professional assistance, for others it’s replacing those thoughts with something else, something better.
For me today, I’ll smile, I’ll laugh, as it is after all the best medicine. All the while still living in the now and working to remove the grime from my life… and kitchen floor.
May a smile always find you and we’ll talk again, tomorrow on our next edition of “Becoming Today”.