8 is my favorite number.
It’s a gentle mobius strip that loops like a happy miniature Snow Man with jolly lolly goodness for all of infinity.
8 is the number of flowers I can successfully grow in my garden before my ADD kicks in and I forget about them and they die.
8 was my favorite age to be – the perfect age of happiness slapped down right in between the time I gained enough childhood independence to begin enjoying youth and just before that place where awkward kicked in and ruined everything for many years afterward.
8 is the number of, “I LOVE You,” Valentines I got in the 2nd grade.
8 is the horrible thing 7 does to 9 every time you tell that joke.
You can draw figure 8s with your fingers around almost every sensory perception tool on your face, except for your ears which are each a half of an 8; go twice around your eyes if you wear glasses.
8 is the number on the bottom of your foot in a wrinkle somewhere – you will find it if you look very, very hard.
If you draw 8 the correct way you have a perfect Venus figurine, a little Mother Goddess right there under your pencil.
I LOVE 8!
Which reminds me that my least favorite number, the one I hate the most, is the number which represents the absence of all numbers – zero. I HATE zero, no matter which way you say it: zip, zilch, nil, nought, nada, null, and void. It is the least fun number in the entire universe. In fact, if zero had its way, there would be no universe, or stars, or people, or underwater kisses to record in one’s diary.
More than the number zero, I hate feeling like a big zero. This happens too often. It happened recently.
Recently, I asked God, “Why?” for the millionth time and seemed to receive no answer.
Recently, I contemplated the apparent purposelessness of my life despite my many attempts to ensure the opposite.
Recently, I entered my home and was immediately struck by how empty it felt.
Recently, I pondered the randomness of life and existence. Perhaps I am just another random birth in another random hospital, another mouth to feed for another random family. The idea that life has no meaning is one we’ve all heard, but we’ve also heard there is meaning in everything. The line in between seems a bit more than blurred, and both extremes seem illogical. Trying to find an answer to this conundrum is the beginning of a very long, very big, very painful migraine. I chose not. Instead, I sat with legs folded into one another with a single candle lit and just tried to breathe.
In meditation the goal is to focus on the in and out of one’s breath. I began with a prayer, and then sat, quietly listening. Then, every doubt and dark emotion I’d kept hidden from myself through so much busyness came boiling up. I filled with despair and collapsed. (Insert carpet wrinkles on forehead after continual sobbing, count faults and disappointments until face is red and swollen like a basketball, vision is blurred and eyes are puffy).
Then I heard, “Why are you crying?” which was the beginning of this conversation with God:
You’re God, don’t you know everything?
I’m a big loser. I’m a nobody. I’m a big ZERO. I HATE zero.
I guess God likes to ask, “why,” too, so I told her –
Everything is falling apart. I’m failing in school, I have no money, I can’t pay my debts, and I’m all alone in this empty house. Everything in my life is empty. I have nothing. I feel like a big nothing.
Close your eyes. What do you see?
Dark. Black. Blank. Nothing.
What do you want to see?
What do you mean?
Ex Nihilo –
Creatio ex nihilo – “what is seen was not made of things that are visible.”
Nothing is a good place to start, so what do you want to see?
Maybe, the purpose was a better understanding of faith.
Empty. Blank. Nothing. This is a good place to start, so what do you want to see with your eyes closed as you stare into the void you envision your life to be?
So we began to dream, together, God and I, and I found a new reason to love 8.
Recently, I stood staring into the night sky enamored by the display of so many diamonds dancing across velvet.
Recently, I sat on a white sand shore with my eyes transfixed on the infinite blue horizon voluptuous with countless blue waves.
Recently, I thought of the times and ways God has provided for me – too numerous to count.
The infinite display of imagination by a God who loves to create people, worlds, and universes out of nothing.