For two years, I’ve wanted to get a tattoo in honor of my mom.
For a long time, I was worried about the pain and the permanence of a tattoo, but I finally decided upon an idea.
My mom had planted an easter lily that quickly bloomed only to wither and die the next day, which inspired her last email update. She was inspired by Psalm 103, but it also reminds me of Isaiah 40:6-7, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
It also reminds me that for the Christian, as the outer self is wasting away, the inner self is being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). As I watched my mother fade away, there was something in her eyes that didn’t belong to this world but to the next. It was eternity in her eyes.
The symbolism of the lily also reminds me of the imagery of lilies of the field used throughout Scripture. Not just in the book Song of Songs, but also in Matthew 6.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
I am the queen of worry and have been running away from pain most my life. But I am tired of living in fear. Part of getting this tattoo was an exercise of trust. When deciding on the size of my tattoo, I was worried about the pain, but the tattoo artist said the pain was not important. The pain would be temporary, but the art would be permanent.
I think life is a lot like this. The fear of pain is far worse than the actuality of it.
Did my tattoo hurt? Yes, but was the pain worth it? Also yes.
Was the worry worth it? No.
Every time I look at my tattoo, I hope I’m reminded of this lesson. That it is far better to face the pain than run away from it. Only once I face the pain from my past can I heal.