Most people plan their tattoos, making a statement of sorts by the way in which they decorate their bodies.

My first ones were unplanned…and, unwanted.

They were miniscule, marking the parameters of the area of my chest to be radiated for breast cancer.

They made a statement I would have preferred not to make.

But they also opened my mind to other possibilities…like when my husband purchased a motorcycle a few years later.

I mentioned that tattoos and motorcycles went together, though George swore he would never have a picture embedded in his flesh.  I insisted I was going to get one and I talked about it—only talked—for years.

During a vacation to Florida, one in which we couldn’t enjoy the beach due a storm rolling in to shore, my daughter encouraged me to follow through on my talk.  You see, she had already gotten a tattoo, soon as she turned eighteen, and she wanted to know what I waiting for.

So we went in search of a tattoo parlor.  We found one easily enough, and after telling the artist what I wanted and sending him back to the drawing board a couple of times, I stretched across a table to allow him access to the small of my back.

I had decided long before that should I ever get a tattoo, it would be on my lower back where it would not visible to the general public.  I began to second-guess that decision, however, when a friend informed me that lower back tattoos were referred to as tramp stamps.

I did not want to be known as a tramp.

My niece, Katie, though, laid the issue to rest when she said, “You’re not one of those, Aunt Karen.  It shouldn’t matter what anyone else calls your tattoo.”

I recognize wisdom when I hear it.

The artist drew one line across the small of my back and I nearly went through the ceiling.  He paused while I caught my breath.

“You didn’t tell me it was going to hurt!”  I exclaimed.

“You didn’t ask,” was his simple response.  “And now that I’ve started, I have to finish.”

So I endured the pain, though I could have sworn he was sawing through my skin with a dull, serrated knife.  My daughter stood by my head the whole time, stroking my hair and saying softly, “breathe….relax….”  I felt like I was in a natural childbirth class with her coaching.  Actually, with all the pain, it was more like the childbirth itself.

Pretty soon it was done, with me, amazingly, still alive.

A cross with a grapevine twisted around it…a stamp marking me, not as a tramp, but as a child of God.

I am the true vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:5 NIV

1 Comment

  1. susie
    Jan 23, 2014

    nicely done ~ just like your tattoo.

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