I’ve known Jenny since she was a wee little person in Indiana. Now she’s a student at Calvin in Michigan. I’d probably never see her if it wasn’t for social media technology that lets us connect virtually.
Anyhow, when I logged onto Facebook this morning and started to cruise through the Newsfeed, I saw the above photo which shows Jenny’s latest. I’d heard from a mutual friend that she was planning a sleeve (is that what this is called? i think i got that right), but hadn’t heard what it would be.
According to Jenny, the whale wins.
When I was growing up the only people I knew with tattoos were men, they were currently or formerly engaged in military service, and they drank beer and smoked cigarettes. Their tattoos were not generally imaginative — rarely something one would call artistic expression.
I don’t say that to imply that “when I was growing up” should be the standard for what is normal or right or good. I’m just owning the reality of my perspective. When my friends started getting tatoos — generally small and hidden — I had an opportunity to unpack my own assumptions and associations relative to tatoos and those who don them.
When you grow up thinking certain things are indicators of other things, untwisting those associations can be complicated. Challenging.
If I started to name all the people who have played a roll in my untwisting that list would quickly grow long. I’m so grateful to those who saw my clenched teeth or sensed my closed heart and didn’t walk away. Their grace gave me space to see beyond the ink on their arms. And, as God’s peace and love transforms my heart and mind to better reflect His, I find myself celebrating the ink.