An “I Am the Clay” Vignette*
“Ink”—slang for tattoos. Ink is actually an appropriate moniker for tattoos, as ink, in most cases, is indelible…permanent…un-erasable—like tattoos.
The most inked human I know is one I affectionately call “my boy.” He’s tattooed from the neck down—or so he says, as there are a couple of private spots I haven’t seen (and ain’t asking about and don’t wanna). Tattoos are kind of like indelible reminders of wear and tear from the past.
And he’s definitely got a past—drug use and abuse, civil disobedience, jail time. But that past also includes marrying a beautiful wife who kept his family—their family—together while his drug use ran its course.
And then one day there was an encounter with Almighty God, delivery from his demons, a sure and certain moment of salvation.
And, like the tattoos, that was also indelible.
Now he’s a voracious reader: the Bible, Tozer, books about what makes grace amazing. He’s curious and smart and pursues God with an unbridled passion. He texts me photos of the page from the book he’s reading, knowing it will affect me the same way, whether as an “aha” moment or gut-churning conviction. And usually, it does.
I met him when we both played in a Christian band together. He irritated me to no end at first. He’s got a smart mouth and enjoys getting a rise out of me. But one day I ended up sitting down one-on-one with him—no bass guitar or keyboard between us—and heard his whole story, heard his heart, heard his honesty.
Heard his hunger to draw closer to God.
People get under your skin, you know? Kind of like tattoo ink, their place in your life becomes indelible.
So while my time with the band was short-lived, my time with him wasn’t.
We get together and drink coffee ’til all hours, the closest thing to partying either of us does anymore. We talk about our past lives—laugh about it, mostly—and worry that we’re romanticizing it a little too much. But we both know the other will get the contrast between that past and the about-face God enabled in each of us, the power He has to heal brokenness.
Recently, he asked me to be his mentor. Me: broken, faltering, stumbling, dealing-with-my-own-past-demons me. He’s got parents, so he wasn’t looking for a father figure. While I would be proud to have a son—or at least a little brother—who reads Tozer, I’ll be content to wear the “mentor” badge with honor.
And it is an honor: an honor to pray for him daily, to send him lists of books to read, to talk about the truths and mysteries of the heavenly Father we share.
The other day he told me he had been accepted into the seminary. I admit it—I cried. I thanked the Lord profusely, but I also cried. Joy tears.
He’ll make quite a minister. No one in his congregation will ever be able to say God can’t save them—he’ll just bare his inked arms, smile and say, “Sure He can—‘cause He saved me…
*A brief written piece about a person or event.
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Tattoos may hurt, but it doesn’t hurt to click here or on the Facebook logo below and visit my page.