I am afraid that if I were to start getting tattoos, I would never stop.
I admit that I have a Pinterest board full of tattoos, and apparently my tastes lean towards the cliche: birds, anchors, trees. But really, what I love the most are more simple. Words. Black ink on skin, words permanently etched onto a body, becoming part of a person.
Because, you see, I forget. I forget lots of things, all the time.
This is why I have a notebook-sized day planner that lives with me. It’s color-coded and highlighted and sticky-noted within an inch of its life, and in it I write everything. Tests and homework, lunch dates and dance concerts. Library book due dates and respond-to-this-email reminders. Notes telling myself to wash dishes or call Mom or put index cards in my backpack. Everything.
Because if I don’t write it down – I will forget it. I will forget the important things as well as the insignificant. If I forget to wash the dishes that night, it’s not a big deal. If I forget to study for an exam – that is a bigger deal.
And if I forget that Jesus loves me.
Then it’s a problem.
But it happens, far too often. I forget those truths, truths that I grew up hearing, that have become so familiar they are almost background noise now. Jesus loves me. Jesus died for my sins.
Simple. Three-year-olds can recite these truths in Sunday School. Simple – and yet so impossible, incredibly complex.
And I forget. I forget that He loves me, that He forgave and forgives and will always forgive me. That He promises healing, joy, life abundant. That He is there, that He is always there.
So I write things down. I fill page after journal page with scribbled prayers, sadness and joy and tears pouring out onto the page, my handwriting becoming increasingly hard to decipher. I spill words onto the computer screen, typing when my fingers can’t move a pen across the page fast enough. And when it’s really important and I am in danger of forgetting – I write it on my skin.
I Sharpie Bible verses and song lyrics and single words onto my arm. I write truth on myself, hoping that somehow, if it’s on my skin – if it’s right there – if I can see it – I won’t forget it.
I’m tempted to make it permanent. Write those words on my skin with ink that won’t come off in the shower. Tattoo reminders of all that is good and important and needed. Ink the truth onto my skin and then hope it sinks below my skin, sinks into my heart in a way that is just as permanent.
But there are so many things to remember, and I am so forgetful, and I have only so much skin.