By this time, I think that all of you know that I have tattoos... three of them.
Today I am going to take a few minutes to tell you about how and why I have them. This is being done in conjunction with Sonia Sunshine, who blogs at "..And The Pursuit of Happiness". Please give her a look, because she is doing something rather cool on the subject of tattoos this week.
Anyway, I got my first tattoo in 1986, when I was stationed with the 2nd Marine Division at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. The tattoo that I chose was the Marine Corps emblem, which you can see here. It is an eagle, globe, and anchor. The symbolism of which is the eagle, representing the nation, the globe, representing the world-wide service of U.S. Marines, and the anchor is representative of our ties to the Navy. My Marine tattoo is in full color, and still looks pretty good for being more than twenty years old. The colors have faded some, but the details haven't. Back in those days, being a Marine meant a lot to me... and it still does today. I have never regretted getting this tattoo, and will be pleased to take it with me to my grave. It took me two weeks to figure out exactly which EGA design that I wanted, and once I settled on it, I took another two weeks to make sure it was what I really wanted it. Once I was certain, I went to Zeke's tattoo parlor, in Jacksonville, NC and had it done.... and I was stone cold sober when I did it (just so you know).
When I got my Marine tattoo... one of the old sergeants (I swear, he must have been at least 35) told me to beware... tattoos, he said "are addictive".
Fast forward to 2004... I had been jonesing for another tattoo for a long time. I wanted one, but I wasn't really all that sure. Eventually it came to me that a tattoo is nice as body art, if that is your thing, but to tell you the truth, my body ain't all that great to look at, and I'm not terribly vain, so I decided that it was more important for me to get something that had personal meaning, rather than something to make me look/feel cool.
Enter my second tattoo.
My military service was/is important to me, but that phase of my life is over, so I started thinking about tattoos that would signify the importance of my faith. I played around with various crosses... Celtic crosses were pretty cool, I thought, but A) I couldn't find one that I really liked, and B) it seemed like everybody and their brother was getting a celtic cross, so I looked a bit further.
I have been particularly interested in men's ministry of late, because I can't help but feel that for many many years, the church has become "girlified". In my opinion, too many men think that being part of the body of Christ means being emasculated.... Well, that's not me. Anyway, I bought a book about men's ministry, that had a cool emblem on the spine... it was all black and it was the outline of some stout spikes. The type of spikes that may have been in use at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus. I made a drawing, and took it to a tattooist that I met a couple of years before, while we were being interviewed for Newsweek magazine. I still had his card, and gave him a call.
When we met, he started asking me questions, and while we talked, he sketched. His sketch was brilliant, and a week later, it was on my right shoulder. It is a cross of nails... and the scroll (which Paul and I spent a lot of time on) says, in latin "A Cruce Salus" , which means: From the Cross, comes salvation" Paul was REALLY good, and it took a relatively short amount of time.
Well, if you have been reading my blog for more than enough, you already know about the third tattoo, which was done in April of this year.
I am more than passingly interested in the history of the early church, and I am particularly interested in the period of the Crusades. I have read quite a fey books about the period and about the religious military orders of the day, including the Knights Templar (no, none of that DaVinci Code crap) I mean the Knights of THe Temple, also known as "The Poor Knights of Christ". Also spent a fair amount of time on the Knights of St. John, who were also known as the Knights Hospitaller. Anyway, I decided that my next tattoo would hve something to do with the Crusader era. there were many reasons for this.. but to tell you the truth, it would take a lot of intricate discussion... so it will have to wait for later.
I thought long and hard about this tattoo. I wanted Either a Templar Cross (also known as the cross Moline), or the Cross of St. John, also known as the Maltese Cross. I finally settle on the Jerusalem Cross. I settled on this one because of the significance of Jerusalem in Christian history and culture, as well as it's continued importance in the middle east. The design came to me easily this time... I took a Jerusalem cross to Paul. Indeed, I used one of the crosses that I use to make rosaries. Paul took a look at it, and began his sketch. A week later, and, well, you can see it yourself.... it's on my back, between my shoulder blades. The text around the cross is in Greek, from Phillipians: 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".
I am very happy with all of my tattoos, and I have never regretted them.
There! Now you know my stories... aren't you glad?
Hey. HEY! Wake up.
Note: If you are ever in Washington, DC area and you want to get a tattoo, you MUST go and see Paul Roe, at British Ink. You won't be sorry. Paul does all custom work, all of the time.
2nd Note: Barack Obama post before midnight, I promise.