I have NEVER been someone to get a spur of the moment tattoo. I got my first tattoo seven years ago and haven’t been inked since. There were times I considered getting another tat, but never felt right about it in the end.
Then I went to Nepal. While hiking through the Himalayas I thought, “This is what life is about. I need to remember this.” As we trekked uphill I spent my time focusing on my breath and each step I took. It was all so simple. On top of that, the mountains were relentless in reminding me how small I truly am (and consequently how big God is.)
Sometimes (…a lot of times) I forget.
Last year was one of the hardest years of my life; I was stretched in ways that left me beat up and sore all over. I lost perspective. Things have improved since then, though this year has brought its fair share of challenges as well.
Like many people, I can get stuck in my head.
All that washed away on the mountain. I felt myself changing the higher we climbed. Some people get baptized in water as a symbol of new life; for me, in this season, I climbed a mountain.
And so, when my trekking buddy Drea and I threw around the idea of getting a tattoo of the Annapurna mountain range, my spirit didn’t brush it off. This surprised me and I took note.
Four days later I found myself in a tattoo parlor in Kathmandu, going back and forth with an artist about my potential tattoo. I was nervous because this was so out of the ordinary for me (getting a tattoo so quickly and in another country), but I was also aware of the settledness in my spirit underneath all my nerves.
In Deuteronomy, God tells his people some really good stuff (“love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,” etc etc) and then he tells them to “fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads” as a reminder.
This is why I get tattoos; to mark myself with the truth I need to remember.
Finally it came to a point in the tattoo parlor where I had to decide if I was actually going to do this or not. I could walk away and leave it as a nice idea… or I could risk. I felt similar to the way I felt before bungee jumping. I needed to dig deep beneath my fears to that place in my spirit that said go and trust the end result would be worth it.
And so I did.
My thoughts were something like this: Am I really doing this? Yes I’m doing this. Oh my gosh I can’t believe I’m doing this!!
Even though I liked the placement on the outside of my arm better than the inside, I got the tattoo on the inside because I could see it better. That was the main point of me getting this tattoo – so I could see it and remember.
Yup… that happened.
I will have it on my wedding day and when I have babies and when I’m old and gray. As the ups and downs of life continue it will serve me as a reminder of what really matters in life and how to get by…
Just breathe and take the next step.