Rick and Monique

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tattoos and Hope

I understand why some people ink tattoos into their skin.  Well, I understand many of the reasons people ink tattoos into their skin.  Most tattooees want to remember something meaningful about their life, want to give an event such significance that serves as a constant memory driven banner.  Of course tattoos bear a tougher, more gritty, more fashionable aura than say, a string tied around around a finger.

We saw an old WWII war ship retired on the Ohio River on the banks of an Illinois town.  She now serves patrons as a museum and a gift shop.  I suppose, like a tattoo that, while none of the most important technology even exists on the ship anymore, being forever classified, that the ship serves as an American tattoo of triumph and tragedy.  I'm not sure the appeal an old but furious gun ship that grips onlookers.  If you were honest, when she was in full service you would not have wanted to be close to the ship.  Some get the tattoo, others the scar of war.

I'm slightly offended that a man's work aboard that ship, any ship, can be reduced to souvies and treats.  I guess monuments such as a stripped down ship offer people hope of triumph, for what it's worth.

And so there she was, proud, strong and dormant.  I suppose she still echoes with the scars of deep waters; we all do in our own way.  I turned from the big ship and I and my friends drove away still wondering what there was to remember.  Earlier we'd taken a walk down a path along the Ohio river to a visitor center nearby.  A flag rope clanked against a flagpole near the center and hanging from it was an old, tattered, ripped up American flag--looked more like a rat hanging from a pole.  I was offended and I told someone that I was.  I tell you I'm not a people of rats.  The flag did not inspire hope.

I'm not sure the old retired ship did either. I get that people fight, but I hate that death remains the only way to save a people.

That's how it was with Christ.  I'm glad I'm safe, but I'm not glad that he had to suffer like he did.  I wish humans hadn't needed such sacrifice.  But a person willing to go out and save his people seems like something to honor, even if you're not glad about it.  Their wounds are our tattoo, our honor are theirs.

And so yesterday, the triumphant waved banners and promised balanced budgets, integrity in the office and new ways of thinking.  The last night's speeches rang triumphant, but hinted toward an uppity tremor of supremacy and leaned into disdain.  I heard the same disdain, even cruelty four years ago when the Democrats won the House, the Senate and then two years ago, the Presidency.  The winners bore their Visigothic chests.  I think people hoped that leaders lived their message, that being hope, unity and fairness, but instead gained division and more disdain.  The same has been heard all over the world for as many years as the world's existed.  But I'm here now.  This means something to me now.  Now some new folks are in D.C., and last night, more triumph with a slightly distasteful edge.  I know what I don't like.  I don't like abortion, testing from aborted children, high taxes and big government.  I have my vote, but friends, neighbors and Americans alike certainly do not have my disdain.

And I heard little last night about those of us who were on other lands striving for freedom within the longest engaged war effort in U.S. history.  They desire that their leaders ink another honored tat on their hearts, but were instead, virtually ignored.  I think we need less disdain.  A kind word turns away wrath says the Proverbs.  Civil disobedience can do as much harm as all out war.  But maybe we should be thankful for sacrifice and want less death, less suffering.  By one death, many are often saved.

Maybe one party or another can triumph with grace.

I do have hope.  I think it's worth flying a clean flag.  I'm gonna get a tattoo sometime soon.

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