Tattoos are found in every society. They come in different colors, monochrome black and white to vivid photo realistic colors. Some are visible. Many remain hidden from the casual eye, almost as if they are there as a special mark for a special occasion. I do not know that I have ever had a strong desire to have a tattoo. I do know that I enjoy examining tattoos along with interviewing the host for the reasons and experiences reflected in the mark on his or her body. Each story has a unique twist, often revealing far more of the individual's heart than anyone initially realizes.
From the conversations, I would make the following observations.
One should never assume that a tattoo or body mark has a specific meaning in the present. Often they were a whim or idea that was acted on without a lot of thought.
The fact that there is no particular long-term meaning does not suggest that the host wants to change the tattoo or is embarrassed about the mark. For many it is simply a part of who and what they are. Nothing more is meant, nothing less should be deducted.
With every mark, there is a story. While there is a natural reluctance, there is a willingness to share if one is accepted unconditionally. The sense of being accepted is a requirement in order for one to receive an invitation to listen. In the words that follow, one finds themselves in the heart of another's journey. It is often personal, intimate, and candidly open.
As I look at marks across the century, I am struck by how God “made a covenant with him and signed it in Abraham's flesh by circumcision. When Abraham had his son Isaac, within eight days he reproduced the sign of circumcision in him. Isaac became father of Jacob, and Jacob father of twelve 'fathers,' each faithfully passing on the covenant sign.” (Acts 7.8)
Today, I will tell others of myself by my words, actions, and journey. I know what I want my tattoo to look like.
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