If there was ever a blog I would beg you to read of mine, it would be this one.
14 years ago (this May) my dad underwent experimental treatment for his cancer in Germany.
The treatment did not save his life but gave him a chance to center himself.
At 4:45 am, the day after returning home from Germany, my father died in his home in Michigan. I can remember what I was wearing, where I was standing and the look on my mother’s face when she gave me the news.
Later that month, as things were being sorted out, this piece of paper with my dad’s handwriting on it was found amongst some German stamps and a bracelet he had brought back for me. On this piece of paper, under another quote he had written down, there lied “Adversity introduces us to ourselves.”. I do not know where he derived the sentence from since it can be found in many places and has an unknown original author.
Since I can remember, I have lived my life with this writing forever engraved on my heart. On occasion, after my good friend Matt began tattooing I spoke with him about having this profound statement tattooed but I needed all the dots to line up. I wanted to have the tattoo completed in the Spring, more specifically, in May since that is when he passed away. It just never worked to be in Michigan at the same time as Matt and during May. I started to think I should just ignore the urge to do this seemingly out-of-character act, especially since my fear of needles is so high.
A year and a half ago, when I was working through the Bible I came across Proverbs 24:10. This verse which stated, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” immediately struck me and I began and cry. I felt my own dad’s words and love surround me as if he was giving me this fatherly advice for the first time. I KNEW I must have the tattoo I had always dreamt of.
Now, just to make the arrangements for it to happen.
Then came a hiccup. Matt moved 3500+ miles from Michigan to Germany. At the time I did not see the parallel between his move and where dad WROTE those words. It wasn’t until this past January, when I was planning the Euro trip and realizing I could visit this good friend at his new home, that I connected those dots. I was headed to Germany and there was no question what the biggest bucket list item was, the tattoo of a lifetime from a friend who I’d known and trusted for over a decade in a country where it all started.
As I began to contemplate where I wanted it, again I felt it must be symbolic.
These words of wisdom seemed to ground me in difficult moments, they seemed to be a firm foundation for my soul, there was no question it was a place I could set my faith in and rest my aching mind. In addition to all of these reasons, the fact that I was standing when I was told the news of dad’s passing lead me to choose my foot.
The morning of the tattoo, I ran my 100th day of running (where I ran at least a mile or more each day for 100 days). It was completed just outside Cologne (Köln), Germany and tattoo-less. After getting cleaned up and putting on my dad’s high school class ring, we headed to the tattoo shop where we spent only 20 minutes doing something which will last a lifetime.
I know this is much more thought than any one person ever puts into a tattoo, but here I am writing this, choking back tears of happiness and pride.
I am so thankful to Matt for his friendship and to Zach for dealing with my sappiness. This was an experience which I will never forget. If you made it through this lengthy post, I commend you as well. 😉
**If you ever find yourself in Germany, look up Matt Roscoe’s Tattoo & Piercing Shop in Brühl, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany called “Art of the Needle”. You will NOT regret it.**
Love to all. May you each allow adversity to shape you.