For we walk by Faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (KJV)
I’ve been wanting a tattoo, but could not think of anything important enough to have engraved on my body. I told husband, when I am old and in the nursing home, the staff will know that I once was young and daring. He just laughed. It did seem ridiculous to reach the age of 57 years old and suddenly decide that I wanted a tattoo. When I was growing up only “bad” people had them! Yet, tattoos of semi colons kept showing up in social media. When I researched it, I found that it stood for suicide and mental illness awareness and prevention. The semi colon used as a punctuation mark comes in a sentence that the author could have ended with a period, but chose to continue the story using a semi colon. It is a reminder that we can chose not to end our story but keep on going despite pain and hardship. I suddenly found the tattoo that I wanted. Since I was diagnosed with MS, almost two years ago, the pain and fear that comes with that illness and its side effects helped me to understand why people would consider suicide. I believe it is so important to teach people that life is valuable and God has a plan for us all. Then, an old friend’s five year old grandson got a fast growing brain tumor and in the matter of a few weeks, died. Through that time, her family demonstrated such grace and courage and gave all the glory to God. As a reminder, they had “Walk By Faith” tattooed on their feet. Now, I had a second reason to get a tattoo. Not only to honor their witness, but to strengthen mine. Through the recommendation of a friend, I found a tattoo artist who does beautiful work. He is a graduate of art school and creates paintings on people’s bodies. When he heard my story, he agreed to do a simple tattoo on my ankle that combined the semi colon and the words, “Walk by Faith.” I had to wait three weeks for the appointment and during that time second guessed myself as I thought about the pain and disfigurement. Some close to me tried to talk my out of it, but despite fear and discouragement, I kept the appointment. With a friend to hold my hand, I entered the cleanest shop that defied all the images you can conjure about tattoo parlors. Nerves a little calmer, I approved the design, climbed up on the table and endured thirty minutes of pain. It was not easy, but I kept reminding myself of the end product. Nor was it as bad as the pain I feel from the trigeminal neuralgia. Would I do it again? Maybe. If I have something I believe in strongly. I pray that this tattoo will be a conversation starter and that someday, it might even save a life.