Friday, January 11, 2013

Ink #2

Last summer, I first went under the care of a local tattoo artist and got my first tattoo, a bald eagle screaming down out of the sky while holding onto Old Glory. On the bottom, a scroll that reads "USN" for U.S. Navy. It's big...big enough to wrap around my right calf so when running, you can see the wings and a little bit of the red on the flag. I love it...I mean LOVE it! The simple idea or concept of a tattoo was always something that wasn't looked at favorably in my first 40 years of life. Raised in a Christian home, going to church every week, etc. engrained in me that it was bad, a sin, and something that was strictly forbidden. So as you can imagine, I had to face that, dig into it, and discover for myself the truth before I ever did anything. I already wrote on this and what I believe HERE. In a nutshell, it's very easy to take one sentence or a fraction of a sentence in the Bible and make it say what you want. Truth is, we must read everything in this world in context. We must know who the writer is, who he/she is writing to, and understand the culture and subject matter in that day. To do that or not to do that gives you two VERY different perspectives on getting a tattoo. Anyway, check out my post and it'll make more sense to you. Feel free to opine if you'd like to and let me know what you think.

So since that one, I've always wanted a second one on my left calf. It was clear since the beginning what I wanted the theme to be, too. Never been a doubt...I simply didn't know "how" to do it and/or how to communicate my feeling or message. Months gone by and I finally stopped in at Defiance Tattoos in Kent to meet with the owner, "Pops", again and convey my thoughts on it and what I was going for. Last time, he met and far exceeded my imagination and I was super happy with it. I was toying with a more modern/tribal look or more "old school" like I already got with the eagles' wings. I told him I wanted an empty cross. I told him I wanted eagles' wings outstretched...not in flight and not down....at peace but outstretched. I also wanted the empty cross to be the central figure and if possible, "pop" a bit and look three dimensional over the cross. I also wanted color, a darkish blood-like color on the cross. Not bright red and not burgundy, but passive. As an aside, I thought it would be cool, too, if those wings might be visible from the back when running...sort of a mirror image of the already-existing one. No way it would match as one eagle is flying downward and other at peace, but to see both wrapping would be cool, I thought. I left Pops with that and waited for the sketch. As before, I loved the sketch he texted me. Also like before, it was much larger once I arrived in the shop yesterday but again, I loved it. We discussed coloring, positioning, the beveled part of the cross, shading of the wings, etc. and he got to work. Below are a series of photos from my session and the "morning after" shots that show it from the rear. My leg was wrapped in plastic until moments ago when I washed it and put the healing cream on so I didn't get to see that until now. Below the photos, I'll explain what it all means.
The stenciled outline we agreed upon.

Black outlining and shading done, the most painful part. :-)

Pops at work.

Immediately after finishing...from the front.

From the rear.

Side view before I left the shop and the plastic/moisturizer went on.

Morning After. LOVE it!

From the front.

Oh yea, I like...very much. Perfect position top to bottom. I wasn't sure at first but I went with Pops' suggestion and I'm glad I did.

That's it!  So what does it mean??
I accepted Christ back when I was 5 years old, I lived in Canfield, OH, an episode on the TV was playing of WKRP in Cincinnati, and a bowl of buttered rice in front of me. For the past 35 years, the cross has meant many things but ultimately, I knew the stories and led a good life. Today, I thank Him for that empty cross every day. It represents death defeated, forgiveness granted, grace extended, and an eternal hope that I have. It's not just a hope, either, I know it to be true and eagerly look forward to it. The color...a crimson red, is no accident, either. It represents His blood shed for me/you/us on that cross. Of course, the cross is empty because He isn't there nor the grave. The grave couldn't hold Him and 3 days later, He rose again as He said He would. The wings are the 2nd "act" here. Sure, I love them just because I do but they represent freedom. Freedom granted to me to worship Him and live my life following Him. Wings outstretched, calm, and free. It's all a reminder to me and one I want everytime I look at it, wash it, and tell others about it. I don't just "like it because it's cool." Heck, I don't want to be an old, 85 year old man and regret this, right?!

For now, I don't have any further plans for more. These two were my original thoughts and I'm very happy with them. No regrets.

Hey, just in time for a 50K in two days! WOOT!!!

Happy Friday, everyone!

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