Last year, my sister MCV and I started playing the license plate game. I started out ahead but lost by 2 plates: Hawaii and Nevada. By February 1 of 2016 I had already gotten those states, elusive to Ohio. We text each other when we get a plate. Sometimes I take an accompanying photo, if I am able (i.e. the car is parked). Today I got Alabama and MCV got Wisconsin. Last year there was no prize for winning – just the satisfaction – but this year the stakes are a tube of Jo Malone hand lotion.
One benefit of this game is that it makes one pay attention when driving. In Ohio, there are vanity plates GALORE. Most I can figure out but occasionally there’s one I just don’t get.
Last summer, at the beginning of Mr. Understanding‘s job interview process, I was driving home from the mall when I spotted three Ohio vanity plates within a quarter of a mile. The first one was THUMMIM.
“Hmmmm,” I thought to myself, “I think that is one of the lots the Isrealites cast. Maybe a rabbi is driving the car?” I was not sure but that was my best guess. In any event, that was one really arcane vanity plate.
About a block later I saw another plate which read, ILISTIT.
“Hmmmm,” I thought to myself, “That must be a real estate agent.”
But it was the third plate that really grabbed my attention: ARKANSAW.
And with that, I had a good laugh, and acharacteristically, left the matter in God’s hands. Migraine season was swinging into gear and my plate overfloweth.
I am one who really enjoys a good sign. Is it possible that God can speak to you through license plates? What about signs on buildings? Does He have to be that obvious? For the dim witted, like myself, the answer is probably yes. In the Old Testament*, God used many signs to get the attention of the Isrealites. Jesus performed many himself and yet most failed to recognize that He Himself was the sign.
When I got home, I went to my fancy dictionary and looked up the Hebrew meaning of thummim. PERFECTION. I laughed even harder than I had when I saw the final plate of the trinity.
As my words for 2016 are TRUST and RELEASE, I am going with thummim, listing it, and Arkansaw. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. once said, ““Unexpected travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God”. And he was a humanist! He also said,”I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” In all seriousness, I am as close to the edge as I can possibly be.
What would you put on your vanity plate for the world to interpret? Mine, on this Super Tuesday, would be AMARYKA.
*Exodus 28:30New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
30 In the breastpiece of judgment you shall put the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be on Aaron’s heart when he goes in before the Lord; thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the Israelites on his heart before the Lord continually.
Herewith concludes Day 18.