Friday, July 18, 2008

My Birthday Present

"Is this your first time?" asked Chad, glancing over his shoulder in my direction.

"First and last!" I replied, a little too eagerly.

Kathy warned me from behind, "Careful...it's addictive...I have three!"

I placed my arm, palm up, on the rest and took a deep breath, remembering those slow, measured breaths from giving birth.
The design I handed earlier to Chad was only a half inch long.

He said, "This shouldn't take very long and, No, it doesn't hurt, don't worry."

So I braced myself, inhaled, exhaled and the needle was on my wrist, implanting the cross which Ian designed earlier that day. To celebrate my 48th birthday I took the step I have wanted to take for the past four years - I got a tattoo!

Yeap, that's the big surprise. Take a breath Dave Hemperly!

A few years back I heard the story of Coptic Christians in Egypt who tattoo themselves and their children. Here's the story: Coptic Christians have tattooed themselves and children for the sake of always identifying themselves as Christians. It's infrequent by not uncommon for the children of Christians to be kidnapped and "forced" to convert to Islam. With the tattoo on the wrist the kidnapped children, no matter how long they are away from the families, will always know where they came from and who they belong to.

That story stuck in my heart and my gut. I marked myself with a cross to remind me, daily, hourly, of the threat brothers and sisters face everyday of their lives. This mark leads me to be thankful and pray. Now, I'm not saying it's all super-spiritual for me but it is one more aid in leading me where I want to be - more prayerful and more thankful.

After the "tat" was done Chad said he felt bad for charging me the minimum rate for such a small job. I said,
"hey it's my birthday present so don't worry."
"Oh, which birthday? he asked
"48th"
With honest and sincere surprise he sputtered, "Wow, I would have thought 38!"
Made. My. Day!

3 comments:

Hannah said...

i like it. good for you! happy birthday, again.
p.s. you could so pass as 38! 35!

heather said...

How sweet! I'd love more tattoos (I only have one that I got 10 years ago), but you'd better know what you want! So glad you did, and that you got a great birthday compliment!

Ronda's Rants said...

I got a Christian fish on my foot for my 50th as my daughter did four years ago on her 21st. I love your and I love the story! Good for you!