Saturday, September 26, 2009

Number 4 Comes First

I like the number “4”.

Most everything comes in threes. The three wise men, the three pigs, the three bears, the Trinity. We eat three meals a day. Jokes and stories often have three parts: The Priest, the rabbi and the protestant walk into a bar….

I prefer four. Four is more than enough. Four means there’s something extra. Something we weren’t looking for. Four means there’s an extra helping.

Four is the number of children in the family in which I grew up Four is the number of my immediate family now.

Four is when you are no longer a toddler, but are turning into a full fledged kid.

Four ruins the meter and flow of a story. It doesn’t quite fit—I like that in a number, and often in people, too.

There was Matthew, Mark, Luke—three perfectly synoptic gospels. Then John comes along. He doesn’t fit the pattern of the other three. He is grander, more eloquent, bolder, and deeper.

Peter, James, and John were the special three out of Jesus' followers. But then occasionally we see Andrew quietly adding himself to the triad. Without Andrew there would have been no three. Without him, Peter wouldn’t have met Jesus. Peter wouldn’t even have the name we know him by. Andrew also brought the boy with the loaves and fishes to Jesus—five thousand families might have gone hungry without this fourth man—the one that didn’t fit in with history’s three.

Four is the surprise ending, the goal beyond the goal. Like strawberries to go with your bacon, eggs, and toast.

It’s the heaven beyond the earth, water, and sky.


  1. I like this. Original and creative. And a poetic twist at the very end that ties it all together nicely. Some echoes of your beautiful creation article, below, which didn't receive any comments but could not have gone unnoticed.


  2. Bo, glad you liked it. It started out as a little recreational writing in my journal--I'd forgotten about it until I read it again recently, and then spruced it up a bit.

  3. I am so glad to have found you again. And your blog challenge me. Makes me think. And in this case.. makes me smile.