Do you have a tattoo? If not, have you ever wanted to have one?
Since I was a kid I’ve always had a fascination with tattoos, for various reasons. My attention was drawn to some tats (slang) because they were works of art. Some tats have a clearly defined purpose as a memoriam or tribute to an individual, i.e. God, Mother, loved one, country, etc. Conversely, I could stare at some tattoos for hours trying to make some rhyme or reason for their existence!
My underlying question was “Why?” Why would someone want a tattoo? What could have enough significance to warrant the permanence, and the frequent ridicule that often comes with having a tat? Fashion statements, statements of defiance, and statements of life; all good reasons for getting a tattoo, I guess.
Truth be told, I’d always wanted a tattoo, but never got one. It wasn’t the anticipated pain. It wasn’t the price. It was the permanence of a tattoo, as in forever. I couldn’t think of anything that I wanted to have on my body for the rest of my life!
Until August of 2006….it’s another of those days that I can remember as vividly as if it were yesterday; I just can’t remember the date (at 56, I can use the excuse of old age!).
Jackie and I were watching Miami Ink, which is a television series about, you guessed it, a tattoo parlor (I used to watch it every week; I told you that I had a fascination with tats!). So anyway, this guy and his son enter this parlor to get crosses tattooed on their back and arm, respectively. While I didn’t like the designs of the crosses that they chose, I liked the concept.
I looked at Jackie and matter-of-factly said “A lot of things may change in my life, but I will never stop being a Christian. I want a tattoo.”
The next day Jackie accompanied me to see a local tattoo artist that had been recommended by a friend. We put our heads together and came up with a potential design for a tattoo.
Two days later that potential design became a reality!
If you look closely, you will see:
His crown of thorns.
The wings of the Holy Spirit.
The sword of a warrior.
The letter "M" which stands for Maniscalco.
And oh-by-the-way, apart from the crown of thorns, this cross wasn't designed with any of the above in mind!
Okay, the fact that I got a tat doesn’t warrant an article on this website. A lot of people have tattoos, right? What’s the big deal?
That night Jackie and I were sitting in the kitchen admiring my new ‘work of art’ when I looked at Jackie and confidently said “It’s official. I’m officially a soldier of Christ. I’m here to do His bidding.”
Jackie sat there in stunned silence as the last of the sentence came out of my mouth. I can only imagine how I may have appeared to her; to say that I was merely stunned would be a huge understatement! I had never even formed a thought like that in my mind, much less say it out loud…..to a person!
Don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed about what I’d said; I was actually, amazingly, filled with a sense of pride, and emboldened by a new found courage! I did feel like a soldier of Christ, and I was indeed ready to go out and do His bidding. Obviously, I still feel that way…..
I’m sure that you’ve heard the phrase ‘born again’ used in religious circles. I was never really fond of the saying. I mean, if someone already knew who God was, how could he be ‘reborn’, as faith applies?
Okay, okay, all of you guys that are really steeped in the bible and theology-----CALM DOWN! I know that the term means being born in and of the spirit of Christ; I know because several of you have told me. I neither disagree nor agree with you, but I would rather use a term that I think is more in keeping with what I believe happened to me on that day in August.
I was awakened to recognize the spirituality of God that was already in me! I offer you this line of thought:
I believe in the omnipresence of God; He is everywhere and in everything. There is no place that He is not. If you are having a hard time wrapping your mind around this belief, stick with me on this journey and you will come to know what I mean. I will continue under the assumption that you agree with me on this.
If you believe that God is omnipresent, that He is everywhere, then you should understand that He is in all of us. Yes, that means you too! Still with me?
If God is in us, so too is His spirit, and all that it encompasses. Which leads me to believe that I was not ‘born again’ unto Christ; I was awakened to His presence within me!
I’ll offer more insight on being ‘born again’ in the future; promise.
You can say that I was ‘born again’ the day I got my tat; I won’t disagree with you. Or you can say that my tattoo day was the day that I woke up. Either way, that day, that moment, would prove to be a huge turning point in my life.
God heard my proclamation. And I believe that He knew my intentions to be pure. You see, I didn’t make that vow to stand up for Him expecting something in return. What I said aloud to Jackie, and to myself, was what I felt in my heart, pure and simple. What He has seen fit to bestow upon me since that day is, well, is beyond any fairy tale that I could have written for myself.
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