Thursday, December 31, 2009

I’m ready for tattoo number two. Maybe…

Just three hours ago, I got my first tattoo! A symbolic image of a dancer and a cross blended together. Actually, I’m surprised at how much of a jerk the tattoo artist was about my so-called “abstract” design. And if I weren’t so determined to have it done today, I probably would have taken my “anatomically impossible” design to someone who was more open-minded…But that hasn’t dissuaded me from planning out my second tat!

My next idea is inspired by the organization called “To Write Love on her Arms.” Like my first tattoo (Yay!), this one will also be a blended image: a cross with the word “love” scrolling down the center beam. I love the symbolism of my new design. I love that it references TWOLA organization and the victims my heart goes out to. And I love that the word “love” can mean so much more than just caring for others in need. A quick Internet search showed these common connotations of the word “love”: adoration, brotherly love, compassion, deep appreciation, infatuation, puppy love, romantic love, and unconditional love.

I thought about the various types and how each might be represented in my new tattoo and I came to the conclusion that my design doesn't really focus on the types of love but the quality of love. And I believe the following can improve the quality of just about any type!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I pondered this list for a while and determined that I couldn’t describe love's goals any better on my own. So that’s where I’ll stop. Now whether my newest design ends up on a tattoo or just a painting in my kitchen, I'm excited that I've found a way to visually represent these ideas about the quality of Love! (Oh and if anyone forgot, that description is from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NIV. Who knew that the depth of my love, and of my tattoo design, would both come from the Bible?!)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

"'Tis the Season" (Yes, 'tis still!)

I’ve recently decided that this is one of my favorite holiday phrases: it provides the cliché ambiguity I need to communicate a variety of ideas and that same ambiguity allows the recipients of the phrase to interpret my ideas however they see fit.

After someone (No names, please!) has eaten too many pieces of mint fudge, “’tis the season” acknowledges the humor of gorging ourselves on holiday treats. After an act of kindness to a hurting stranger, “’tis the season” serves as a word of encouragement.

But I often find myself trapped behind my favorite holiday phrase: in my attempt to be politically correct, I allow people to interpret “’tis the season” as they wish, not as I fully intend. I wish I could emphasize to everyone that “the season” is really THE season. I wish I could use it to declare the Love of the CHRISTmas season!

Sure, the winter holidays each have their advantages (Thanksgiving turkey and potatoes, Christmas fudge and Rudolph, New Year’s resolutions made to be broken), but that’s not all this season means to me. I also want to respect the other religious beliefs, and even the humor about Chrismahanukwanzakah, but I’m saddened by the social-political pressure to hide my holiday beliefs so as not to offend others. I want to honor their beliefs, and I hope they can honor mine.  Plus, Christmas is not meant to offend people: it’s about love and acceptance! To me, the “season” is Christmas: the remembrance of the physical manifestation of God’s Love for us. It is the season when everyone should remember-- or learn-- that as humans, we all need the forgiveness and Love only offered by God and his Son.  

I don’t want my phrase to imply “I’ll have another piece of fudge if you will” or “I’m happy to help with your holiday needs.” All I want to say is “This is the season that makes the other seasons worth living. This is the season when Christ changed history by changing the future of mankind. This is the Christmas season and it is THE season.”