Tattooed Gratitude


(system) #1

No one would ever accuse me of having big hair.

Does that make it little? Grumpy people call it thin. Baby-fine is another good word; sounds sweet and wispy.

Of course I could wear a wig or have some extensions put in. But the actual hair, the protein sprouting out of holes in my scalp—no amount of homeopathic pill-popping or nightly brushing or schmancy-poo will change it.

My mum tells a story, “When I was a teenager this girl whispered to her friend behind me at church, loudly so I could hear, ‘Look at her hair! It’s so thin and full of split-ends.’” There is still emotion in her voice.

I look at photographs of my stunning mother and wonder why she even noticed her hair, everything about her being completely gorgeous. But she still got the tattoo with a red heart that read AWESOME HAIR. Since I was her biggest fan I ordered up a similar one, along with a few originals of my own. I used to say, When I get to heaven, I’ll have long, thick, gorgeous hair, and sweet shoe-advertisement-worthy toes, and skin that tans golden without burning.

I’m sure that’s what Jesus had in mind when he said that he was going to prepare a place for me. On my way to that place, I would first need to stop by his best plastic surgeons, estheticians, hairdressers.

Twenty years later my thoughts are not much further along. A bit sneakier, perhaps, confusable with good qualities: When I get to heaven, I’ll be a creative Montessori mom, I’ll have a chock-full pantry, I’ll take photos of my babies in tutus, I’ll have a garage with only two boxes in it, both nicely labeled (note: all links lead to Pinterest).

My little gods of perfection sit neatly on the shelf with their gold leaf grins, seducing me to lusty thoughts about how happy I’ll be when I am finally _____________________ (fill in the blank: organized, efficient, rich, industrious).

But wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair? reads the text in 1 Corinthians.

What? Of course, of course. There’s a lot of body functions that I’d prefer to full-bodied hair.

Wouldn’t you prefer being a great cook to having a garage with only two boxes in it?

Not sure. Not at all sure about that.

The Scripture continues…For you are a part of one body, with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. You aren’t important on your own. No matter how significant your part is, it is only because of what you are a part of.

The woman with the plentiful hair, she is a part. The chick with the perfect (someday to age) body, she is also a part. The overweight girl with the contagious laugh, the cranky friend with the generous heart, the serious cousin who grows buckets of tomatoes and beets, the weepy friend who turns simple e-mails into poetry, the mum with the imperfect hair who touches every space with beauty: they are all parts. Together they make a gorgeous body.

The foot can’t sniff (thank God) and the eyes don’t chew. This mama slouched in bed with computer on lap may not have photo books for her children or a freezer bursting with blueberries, but she writes. She exercises her limb.

We are each a part of the whole, every scrap of talent and shred of goodness that leaks out of our tiny but precious lives. This beautiful body of Christ, this mosaic of Jesus, the little pieces and parts that overlap and work together and bless each other in so many different ways, together throw the incense of Love around the world.

I pull out the ink and my tattoo patterns and begin to paint: good digestion, enthusiastic laugh, legs that run, enough hair, good cooking, beautiful children…. I’m going to be here all day.

Sarah Fusté is grateful to stay at home with her two thick-haired kids in Berrien Springs, MI. She enjoys blogging at A Cup of Good Life.

Credits: Photo by Robert Fusté, “Tattoo” by Adel Torres


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/5662