I figure if I’m going to do something that makes my parents say “oooooh” in that highly suspicious, we’renotpleasedbutweloveyouandwillpretendtolikeyourchoices way, I’d better have a good explanation prepared. For that reason, I’ve a trifecta rule for tattoos: Anything I’m inking permanently on my body over the course of this lifetime has to have at least three points of significance/symbolism to make the cut.
A few truths about me and tattoos, for those of you who don’t know: This is my second. The first is a white ink “Believe” on the right side of my lower back that I acquired in Santa Cruz about 5 years ago. I have exactly three more planned for the future, which I will get at least 5 years apart to keep myself from falling into the “ooo, give me another one!” trap. When I’m done, 4 out of 5 tattoos will be text only – anything illustrated makes my undiagnosed OCD immediately kick in and freak about having to match my clothes to it for the rest of my life. True story.
So, this tattoo.
First – The phrase “heart of my own heart” is a line from the hymn Be Thou My Vision, which is a favorite of mine, but the significance is deeper than that. Those words are the clearest way for me to capture what I guess I’d call my spiritual ambition. If I had one prayer, one persisting goal in my relationship with God, it would be to be of one heart with Him – to have my will so surrendered to His that I see things the way He sees them, feel what He feels for others, am saddened where He’s saddened, rejoice where He rejoices. It’s difficult for me to explain without thinking it sounds hopelessly cheesy, but I wanted to be reminded of that ambition. I want to remember to strive to allow the heart of God to be the center of my own. I also love that I’ll obviously never fully achieve this goal on this planet…the tattoo will never be obsolete. It’s a good reminder to constantly be asking God to be the center.
And – There’s an e.e. cummings poem I’ve always loved – i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) – which is essentially about someone’s life being not only theirs, but shared with a loved one they carry along with them. It’s absolutely my favorite way to imagine a connection to people I love who are no longer with me. Everything I do is done by not only me, but also by their influence, their shadow, their indelible mark on my life, permanently stored in the center of my heart and permanently part of my person.
And – One such person is my grandfather, who used to send me typewritten letters about everything from static electricity to ambition to God to talent to talking seagulls. The choice of font, the intentionally aged typewriter lettering – that’s my memorial to him, to his heart that I carry with me (i carry it in my heart)
Also, this is the first tomato from our garden! Yippee!