Inked

33501cbd9d1283f9c10f83b826523cd9

I’ve been thinking about getting another tattoo.

I know, I look so homegrown.

You’d never guess I have one already.

It’s those quiet Asians you have to look out for.

 

Here’s how it went down.  When I was 21, a couple of friends and I went to get tattoos for my birthday.

I was tired of feeling like the good girl all the time and I was chafing for something new, something different, you know, change.

I spent a lot of time thinking about where I wanted to get it.
You know, no where that was gonna show the effects of gravity and age. I didn’t want a cute butterfly to stretch into monstrous wings during pregnancy and turn into well, something not so cute.

So that ruled out tummy tats.

I heard that cankles can develop out of thin air so no ankle tattoos for me either.

Hmmm, where will gravity, stretch marks, and age never be able to touch my tattoo?

I took my time thinking it through.  Imaging the time erosion effects on my skin, like watching an ice cream cone melt in the sun.

Thoroughly depressing, but definitely neccessary.

Finding the right tattoo itself, eh – not so hard.  I picked one that spoke to who I wanted to be and what I didn’t want to give up on in life.  It’s a Chinese symbol that reminds me to dream.

But, I’m not Chinese, so I can’t be entirely sure that it doesn’t say”Mu Shu Pork” or “Sweet & Sour Chicken”.

Which is mainly why I’m not posting pictures of my tat.  Ignorance is bliss when it comes to permanent ink, I say.

So anyways, when the big day came, I straddled the tattoo artist’s chair and waited while the hum of the needle worked rhythmically on my back.

Yeah, that’s right.

I outsmarted gravity, age, and stretch marks!!
And when it was all said and done and I took the gauze off a couple days later. . .I looked in the mirror. . . and honestly, I kinda regretted it.
This is not an anti-ink blog.  Remember, it’s me.  I’m still toying with the idea of another one.

Although, by the time my dad, mom, mother-in-law, father-in-law, and husband read this I will have been talked into something less permanent – like a temporary tattoo or better yet, a sticker.

I looked in the mirror and regretted my tattoo.  I think I just got it for the wrong reasons.

I was chafing then, like I’m chafing now.

 

So, I’m being premptive today.  Writing about ink instead of getting inked.

A tattoo should mean something. It’s personal. It’s permanent. And I don’t have anything that I want to be branded with at the moment.
So I know “this” isn’t about a tattoo. Because I’ve also been playing with the idea of skydiving, surfing, hitting up the archery range, etc.  Anything to distract from this. . .this chafing inside.
So I find myself back here, like a caveman at a keyboard trying to articulate what’s going on with my heart.
And I think I’m beginning to.

There is a part of me that remembers that I’ve been here before.
This place of discontent and wanting more from life.  This chafing of the soul.

 

“Even in your hobbies, has there not always been some secret attraction which the others are curiously ignorant of-something, not to be identified with, but always on the verge of breaking through,. . .of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for? You have never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it-tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should really become manifest-if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself-you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say, ‘Here at last is the thing I was made for.’ We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the communicable and unappeasable want, . . . . While we are, this is.  If we lose this, we lose all.”
C.S. Lewis

I hear you Lewis.

I feel it in my sleeping and my waking, in my dreaming of tattoos and reading of books. I am chafing for more from life than just obligation and bills and just doing the right thing. I am aching to feel something.

And there is a part of me that remembers that the first step towards the chafing feels a bit like betrayal.

No, I’m not talking about sins of conscience or otherwise.

It’s about moving beyond being “good” to being alive.

And this isn’t the first time I’ve been here, nor will it be my last.

And I hear it around me and see it in the faces of the people I know.  We are all in the same place. Wanting more.

Although none of us knows how to say it out loud. Because the ache is so deep, a scream seems like the only right expression of it. But we don’t, because we are responsible and mature and on and on with my lame excuses.

So, what’s the answer, God? How do we avoid getting tattoos that mean nothing and yet answer that ache?

Shhhh. . .
Be still.

Everything in you is screaming to move forward, but what you really need, what you really want, is Me.

 

Sigh, he’s right.
He’s always right.

No, tattoo for today. . .

Tomorrow? Now that might be another story.

ADD

I’m a little twitchy.

I’ve been a little twitchy all week actually.  Finding things that “need” to be done.  Projects that “need” to be tackled.  My mind is constantly thinking of 30 unrelated things at once.  But move over WebMD, I think I’ve self-diagnosed the problem.

ADD of the soul.

Yep, that’s right.  ADDots.  It sometimes progresses to ADHD depending on if I’ve got the energy to keep up with myself.  I even have the spiritual Ritalin to calm the jitters but do I take my medicine?  No, because that would make too much sense.  I’m with Paul when he bemoans in Romans 7:15-24, the things I want to do I don’t.  Agggghhh!  Who will deliver me from this body of death?

Amen, preach it brotha, because I am right there with you.

There is this whisper resounding around in my soul.

Here is your cure: Be still and know that I am God.

“What?  I can’t hear you God.  Can you speak up?” I yell as I continue to jackhammer my way through life.

Why can’t I just be still?

I think it’s because I have these preconceived ideas of what God might do when I finally manage to slow down enough to hear him.

He might scold me for taking so long.

He might ignore me for not listening right away.

He might have a list of all the things that I have royally screwed up on – and that’s just today.

But maybe more than all of that, I’m afraid that he won’t do any of those things.

I’m afraid that he might just say, I love you and I’ve missed spending time with you.  I’m afraid because he knows me so well and I’ll fall to pieces at the slightest trace of an honest conversation with him.  That whole, “you had me at hello” bit.

All of the things I’ve been trying to juggle will fall and it will just be him and me.

And honestly, my heart is a little tender, a little sensitive right now and I don’t want anyone to touch it, even if it is to bring healing to it.  I hate feeling like this.  Feeling so weak and needy, because I feel like I need him all the time.  Like oxygen.  It’s cute and endearing when we sing songs at church about needing him like the air we breathe and more than our next heartbeat, but the truth is that it borders on the insane how much we truly need him.  How much I truly need him.  Sometimes I feel like a God stalker.

Be still and know that I am God.

Okay, so now I’ve got my headphones on and my iTunes playing some chill music (it helps my heart to focus and my brain to stop spinning it’s wheels so fast).  I begin to pray,

Lord, my heart hurts and I miss you.  I miss our morning coffees together and talking about everything and nothing.  This last week rocked me.  Help!  I think I might be drowning in all the things I think are expected of me instead of just being Joyce.  Help me to come back to the way we were.