Friday the 13th. And as I am writing this, I realise that I have survived the day.

No elephants have escaped from the safari park and trampled me to death. Phew. All the aeroplanes I have seen in the sky have stayed airborne. Nothing has happened.

And although I joke about this, there is a very real condition called paraskevidekatriaphobia – the fear of Friday the 13th.

I read recently of a study which suggested that an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of the day, making it the most feared day and date in history.

Some people are so paralysed that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed.

The origin of this fearful date is unclear. It is possible that it links back to Maundy Thursday and Good Friday where 13 people were at the last supper and then Jesus was crucified. I don’t know about that.

In some cultures, different days and dates are seen as unlucky. But these superstitions are interesting to me. In an age of the secular, where science has become the new religion of rationalism, there is within us the acknowledgement that bad things happen to good people for no reason.

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Planes do fall out of the sky; yes probably for mechanical reasons which can be explained but why that particular plane at that particular place and time.

That’s why we try to ward off bad events; touch wood; cross fingers; don’t open that umbrella indoors whilst walking under that ladder. These things either ward off bad events or cause them to happen:we all know what happens if we break a mirror!

So I would like to humbly suggest two things. Firstly, don’t believe that anything can fully explain the mysteries and wonder of the world in which we live.

So much is unknown; perhaps even science (of which I am a fan) needs to tread with more humility.

And, secondly, make the most of your days to act with kindness and thoughtfulness in an uncertain world. And if you are reading this after Friday the 13th, then we survived.