A Tattoo

I have never been a fan of getting a tattoo.  It seemed to me that by getting a tattoo you were marking your body with permanent ink even though the words or thoughts you were putting on the body were temporary.

I can picture a young man, who is only nineteen years old, and he marks his arm with the words “I love Barbie”.  Unfortunately, he grows older and never sees Barbie again, yet his arm bears the message of love he felt for Barbie at nineteen.

Over the years, however, I have come to understand that our bodies tattoo themselves based upon our life experiences.  Wrinkles, diseases, and skin patches tend to show the stresses and pains of our lives.  Many cancers are caused by stress.  Many heart problems happen because we have had broken hearts.  Many skin diseases appear because of emotional concerns.

My body is certainly showing how I have lived my life.  I have been a workaholic who never ate the right foods.  I have also endured a broken heart when my church community turned on me.  And, I have failed to take the time to do the self-care of exercise because I always had something more important to do.

And the result…I have more “tattoos” than you can imagine.  I am overweight, have a pacemaker and six stents, and take about 20 pills a day.  I agree with the great baseball player Mickey Mantle who said, “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”

I read recently that 75% of those surveyed regretted getting a tattoo.  Probably 75% of us regret not taking better care of ourselves and our bodies.  I know I do regret some of the bad health choices I have made.

However, I will tell you that there is one bright light in my story.  On my forehead I have two wrinkle lines that are rather deep.  The two lines intersect and make a perfect cross on my forehead.  No one else may notice it, but when I look in the mirror at my aging self, at least I am reminded that I made some good choices as well.  The best choice of all was to dedicate my life to Christ.

The cross is one “tattoo” I will never regret.