I wonder how many of you reading this have a tattoo. Not that it matters . . . it’s just that I don’t. And I don’t ever plan to get one. My reasons are numerous.
First of all, I don’t like pain. Second, I don’t like the idea of paying someone to inflict pain on my body. Third, I believe a Sharpie can achieve the same effect, and it wears off. Fourth, I don’t like pain.
And finally, and this is probably the most important reason I don’t plan to get a tattoo: I. Don’t. Like. Pain.
Now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to tell you a little secret. Just between me and you, okay? Promise not to tell?
I had a tattoo once.
Yes I did. And I was quite proud of it. You see, I’ve always had this secret “tough-girl” fantasy that I could never pull off in reality. So when I was the recipient of one of those lick-and-stick tattoos that you get out of a prize machine, I scoffed. I tossed it in my purse and rolled my eyes. Then, when I got home that night, I waited until no one was around.
I pulled it out of my purse and smiled at the image of Porky Pig, smiling back at me. I read the directions carefully, then went in the bathroom and wet a rag with warm water. And what I did next was nothing short of scandalous, in my little corner of the world. If you’re sensitive to these things or faint of heart, you might want to stop reading here.
I proceeded to apply the tattoo to . . . well . . . let’s just say I put it in a safe place, where I knew no one would see it. And before long, I was marked. The bottom line—Porky Pig had become a semi-permanent part of my . . . ahem . . . anatomy.
Now, I’m not sure what I expected, but that little guy made me laugh. He made me smile. Just the thought of him was so out of character for me, I couldn’t help but giggle on and off.
I snickered through dinner.
I chortled through clean-up time.
I tittered and teeheed myself to sleep that night.
I’m such a rebel.
But then, the next morning, I wished Porky a fare-ye-well as I stepped into the shower. I knew this was goodbye. Or at least, I thought . . .
Porky had other ideas.
I scrubbed and scrubbed, but he wouldn’t come off! I had to take him to work the next day. And the next and the next. For four stinkin’ weeks, people! No matter how hard I scrubbed, that tattoo, intended for children, would not come off. It took a month for him to fade away. For a while, I thought I might be permanently etched with a pig on my posterior.
Eventually, Porky faded into oblivion. I know. So sad.
Please join me for a moment of silence.
Though Porky’s image disappeared over time, I know of one etching that will never be washed away. It’s my own name . . . and the King of the Universe says it’s engraved on the palms of his hands.
Engrave. To impress deeply. To infix.
That’s even more permanent than a tattoo.
Sometimes, I wonder if my life will amount to anything. I wonder if I’ll make any kind of permanent mark in this world, or if I’m really just marking time. But according to God’s Word, I can stop striving. I can stop stressing and worrying if I measure up, if I’ll ever be enough. I’ve already made my mark, and now I can relax in His love for me. He’s engraved me on the palms of His hands.
I wonder if that happened on a hill. On a wooden cross. On a day the earth shook and the sun hid its light. I wonder if that’s the day my name was etched on His palms . . .
I don’t know. But I do know this: I’m accepted. I’m wanted. And I’m deeply loved.
And that’s so much better than a secret tattoo.
“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands,” Isaiah 49:16.