My Tattoo

This is my tattoo:

I got it almost two years ago, in March 2008, when I was really really depressed. I had just gone through a breakup and felt worthless and hopeless. That is a bad combination, but sadly, one that is very common.

My tattoo says “shekinah” in Hebrew. The word means the presence or dwelling place of God. Sometimes translated as the manifestation of God, the glory of the Lord, or the Holy Spirit, it was my reminder that I wasn’t allowed to think that God wasn’t present with me. I might feel that way – and I did. But I made the commitment to believe even when it felt like I was just deluding myself.

This blog has the blogger’s reasons for getting a tattoo which are much the same as mine. I really like that he chose the word “rescued.” I have a friend who has “deconverted” and cites two reasons: one, that there is no scientific proof for the existence of God; and two, that God doesn’t rescue people. That last part is what really touches me. I think it would feel so incredibly hopeless to feel like God doesn’t or can’t rescue people. Somehow – and I don’t know how – even at my worst, I knew that he did. I didn’t know why he wasn’t rescuing me at that moment, but at my core, I still knew that God was the Redeemer who still redeemed and rescued his people. I can’t even explain how I am so sure, but I know that more clearly than I know just about anything else. It’s beautiful to me in the way that birth is beautiful.

I’d love to get another tattoo – either that uses the verse from Job about I know that my Redeemer lives, or something about being redeemed and rescued. I can’t think of another spot I want it though, that’s my main obstacle. Oh, and it hurts.

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4 Responses to My Tattoo

  1. i’ve been reading Everett’s blog too (just like you apparently) and although he and i have never met i really consider him a friend who speaks to me about important stuff regularly.
    love your tat by the way. i’ve been thinking about such things too.

  2. Spera says:

    “that there is no scientific proof for the existence of God; and two, that God doesn’t rescue people”

    I can’t argue with the second, but the first is mere ignorance. Since God is the author of physical existence, it is logical that he is not subject to examination from within that physical existence. It is analogous to the characters in a book trying to discover the author of the book. God is outside nature. Science can only observe that which is within nature. Your friend is trying to use the wrong tool.

    If he were to turn to the intellectual tools of logic instead, he would soon find that it becomes irrefutable that God exists. Tell him to look up the Five Ways by St. Thomas Aquinas or the Ontological Argument by St. Anselm on Wikipedia.

    It is only our foolish modern mindset that has refused to accept the objective existence of anything immaterial or the proofs of logic. Logical proofs are in many ways more reliable than scientific proofs, which are, of course, subject to the fallibility of human observation skills.

    As to God not rescuing people, well, that’s quite another thing. Aquinas demonstrates that God exists and is necessarily outside nature, created everything and holds everything in existence from moment to moment by His will. But he admits that human suffering is not something that can be answered by the mere existence of God. To answer that cry of anguish, we have to start talking about the attributes of God, and frankly, I find these inadequate.

    I have observed that God plays favourites. He rescues some, but leaves others to be crushed.

    If God is love, as it says in the Big Book, I’m afraid that the word means something quite different to Him than it does to us. God’s “love” seems to be a kind of torture from our point of view.

    Which makes it very difficult to love Him back.

  3. Jim says:

    Hi, I’m Jim. First of all, I appreciate your honest writing…you lay it all out. The wife and I have had a long battle with depression ourselves.
    If God doesn’t “rescue” us from the pit, it’s because He went into the pit with us. And for me, the most obvious “proof” of God’s existence is a human being’s (created in His image) capacity to love. Your care and concern for another is not self-generated, it comes ultimately from Him.
    I wish you all the best and I’ll be stopping by. Peace.

  4. I love your story. I love your tattoo. And I loved reading your heart. I have a similar story too: http://studiojewel.blogspot.com/2012/01/depression-continuing-story.html

    But our God is bigger. Our God is stronger. He does exist or everything would be so meaningless.

    Hold fast!

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