by Mike Keating on Wednesday, 26th of November 2014
INK AND IDENTITY
Some weeks ago, while waiting for a Chinese Meal takeaway, I found myself staring at a young woman on the other side of the waiting room. She wore business attire with a Kathmandu jacket and flip-flops, and she had an infinity symbol tattooed along the outside of her left foot, only a portion of the loop had been left out to make room for the word Love. Next to her, a scruffy guy in t-shirt and jeans had ornate black and gray murals inked on each arm, one of which seemed to depict an alien fight scene, the other some sort of robot love story. To his left, squeezed in at the end of the bench, was a man thumbing his phone with quick, nervous jabs. When he turned his hand over, I saw the word Jasmine tattooed above his knuckles and a date printed beneath it.
Then there was me, a blank canvas, wondering if I was missing something. Each inked-up person in the room appeared to be in the same age group—Millennials, to use the much-maligned descriptor. Presumably they all post to social media on a regular basis, through profiles and accounts that compel them to confront the question, who are you? For some, that choice is liberating: It’s a chance to start from scratch. For others, the sheer volume of options can be paralyzing. In either case, modernity compels us to declare our identity with conviction, whether we’ve found it yet or not.
The modern world has more toys, more distractions, more 24/7 screen amusements than ever. We have so many signs, so many maps, and so many voices – that we are more lost than ever.
Who are you? This is a big question. And the answer ‘defines’ us. Are we an accident of evolution? Are we the product of random material and time and chance? Are we simply one in a billion people doomed to fate and fortune?
The Bible offers up an answer to these questions.
We are created by a loving God.
We have a unique purpose for our lives.
We have a home in heaven for those who want it.
You are a child of God!
There is the story of the tattoo artist who was asked “What was the strangest tattoo you ever did?” Apparently, one young man had asked for the word ‘loser’ to be tattooed on his forehead. This sounds shocking. But the tattoo artist said, “Man had loser inside the heart before it was made outside on the head”
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. (1Co 6:19-20 NKJ).
- Ps Mike