“You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD” – Leviticus 19:28, NKJV
I never thought of getting a tattoo until I met and fell in love with Roger. We met at a book fair four years ago. We were book lovers and huge fans of Historical and Crime Fiction and Science Fantasy. We were in the browsing and we reached for the same book. He looked at me and said, “Sorry. You first.” He had such a warm smile and incredible eyes that I was smitten.
After we bought the books we wanted, I ended up getting the one we were both reaching for but which I promised to lend him after I finished reading it, we went to a trendy restaurant nearby for lunch. Over pasta and white wine, we got to know each other and by the end of lunch, we had made plans for our first date.
We began dating and there was talk of marriage. One afternoon when we were hanging out in the city, he suggested that we go and get tattoos. He said he always wanted to get one but just didn’t get around to it. I was hesitant at first but he convinced me when he said, “I want to put right here on my wrist the words, I love you. They are in my heart but I want them to be a part of me where they are visible for everyone to see.”
So, I agreed and we went to a tattoo parlor and had the tattoos done. His said, “I love her” and mine said, “I love him.” A week later, he popped the big question when we were at an amusement park. He got down on one knee on the grass near the Ferris Wheel. I was conscious of people watching us but he was oblivious to them. I bawled but somehow managed to say, Yes! He sprang to his feet, beside himself with excitement and planted a big one on my lips. Then, holding hands, we sauntered off to the Roller-coaster. It was a glorious afternoon–one I will never, ever forget.
Then, the worst day of my life since my father died happened. I was getting ready to go to the beach with Roger when the doorbell rang. Thinking it was him, I rushed to answer it and was surprised to see his friend, Larry standing there. The expression on his face wiped the smile off mine. My heart began to pound. I invited him into the flat and closed the door. I took him into the living-room where we both remained standing. “What’s wrong, Larry?” I asked. A heavy sense of dread settled over me like a dark cloud.
“It’s Roger,” he said. I could tell that he was trying really hard to keep it together. “This morning on his way to visit his parents, he was killed in a multi-vehicle crash.”
I don’t remember much of what happened after I heard the news which turned my world upside down. The funeral and everything afterwards were all a blur to me. I took time off work and lived like a hermit in my flat. I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone. There were times when I felt that I couldn’t go on without Roger.
One night, I came very close to committing suicide. I had the bottle of sleeping pills in my hand but I heard someone on the radio, I think, say, “Regardless of how dark the future may appear to you right now, remember, God will never abandon you.” That got my attention and I listened to the entire program. Looking back now, I know without a shadow of a doubt that God saved my life that night.
I had a friend who was a Christian and I turned to her for support. She visited me regularly and prayed for me. She invited me to spend time with her and her family because she felt that it would do me good. She shared her faith with me. I never knew that she and her husband had lost a child. She told me how God had gotten her through those dark, painful moments. And she encouraged me to talk to Him about anything that was on my mind. “Be frank with Him. Let Him know that you’re hurting, that you’re angry–whatever you’re feeling, lay it all out. Cry, yell if you need to. Don’t hold back. God can take it.”
I followed her advice and I could feel God’s presence and His comfort. I began to talk to Him regularly and found that it helped with the pain and sorrow. My friend gave me a Bible which I began reading every night before I went to bed. It was then that I learned that God doesn’t want us to mark our skins–that meant tattoos. I felt badly that I had one but when I mentioned it to my friend, she said, “When you got it, you didn’t know. Now that you know, you can do something about it.”
“What can I do?”
“You can remove your tattoo.”
I stared at her. “I can?” I exclaimed. “But I thought you couldn’t remove tattoos.”
“Yes. They were once considered permanent but now it’s possible to remove them with treatments, fully or partially. One of my co-workers had her tattoo removed. I can give you her number and she could advise you on what to do.”
I thanked her for telling me this and I immediately contacted her co-worker, Anna who told me what to do and what to expect. She told me to consult a doctor, that it would take months, perhaps a year or more to remove the tattoo, it’s expensive, all the ink can be taken out, get ready for needles, there’s pain afterwards, I’ll need ointment and bandages and to make sure that my clothing doesn’t rest on the area, I have a choice to lighten the ink rather than take it all off or take it all off but there might be white patches or scars and there’s a laser that can fix that problem. I decided that I would completely remove my tattoo and not worry about the cost. My friend went with me when I went to have the procedure done. I was nervous but I felt good knowing that I was doing the right thing. I didn’t have to have a tattoo to tell me that I loved Roger.
Years later, I’m tattoo free. All that’s left is a scar on my wrist which you can barely see. My reading tastes have changed. Now, I read only Christian fiction and non-fiction, Devotions and Prophecy. I’m a baptized member of my friend’s church and I’m teaching Sabbath school to the Juniors. I love being a part of a family with God as my Father and Jesus as my Lord. I think of Roger often and wish that he were still alive. I sometimes, wonder, though if my life would be what it is now if he hadn’t died.
I have written the words, I love Him, at the front of my Bible. I love Roger and will always love him but the Him I’m talking about is God. I love Him because He first loved me. I discovered that unfailing love of His on that night when He saved my life.