Except for what peeks out from my upper arms when I’m wearing short sleeves, most of my inked real-estate lies beneath my shirt. My first tattoo was an eagle on my upper right arm. Around four years later I got a dragon that covered the left side of my chest and upper arm. Some time after that I added a tiger on the other side. The scene under the tiger resembles a rocky mountain with trees and a waterfall. It looks as though the tiger could have traveled from out of the landscape below it. Looking at my chest head on, it looks like the dragon and tiger could be joined in a conflict. I suppose there are all sorts of interesting psychological implications one could draw, but frankly I just think it all looks cool.
Now, on to the tattoo represented in the photo above. This is the first tattoo I’ve gotten that is easily seen without my having to remove my shirt. The reactions of everyone except my family or close friends when they heard about or saw my previous tattoos were universally the same: “You don’t seem like the sort of person who would have tattoos.” Really, it has been funny how little that response has varied. Apparently my persona is very straight laced and the tattoos just don’t fit the impression people form when they meet me. The tattoo you see in the photo is on the inside of my right arm. I put it there because the inside of my arm isn’t as hairy as the outside, so it’s a better canvas. But probably the biggest reason I had it inked there is so people will see it and make comments. I want it to provoke a conversation. I gave my life to Christ in my teens, but later on, as an adult, I allowed my relationship with Jesus Christ to lose its high priority in my life. When I rededicated my life to the Lord I began looking for ways to share that. This tattoo is both a symbol of my love for God and a witnessing tool. It is both an outward manifestation of my belief and a way to start conversations. The symbol of the cross represents Christ’s ultimate sacrifice to atone for our sins, so that we may have everlasting life. The sword represents the reverence I have for the word of God. Hebrews 4:12 says: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
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© Joel Tipple