I can't remember when I saw my first words written in Hebrew, perhaps it was around 1982 when my confirmation class from Wesley Methodist visited a Jewish synagogue in Oklahoma City. I remember how beautiful it was and how much I wanted to learn more about their faith. Anna even had a kids sing a long cassette tape with a song to learn the Hebrew alphabet! Shalom became the word that really resonated to me, I've used it to sign letters for years and used it as a personal prayer...shalom...breathe in contentment, breathe out completeness; breathe in wholeness, breath out well being; harmony, complete peace.
There's a scripture, Matthew 11:29 & 30 where Jesus offers us his yoke which is "easy" and his "burden light." For a while now, my yoke has seemed anything but light. Daughter going to college, Jim Bob getting sick and dying, learning to live with the changes in my parents health. I wear a necklace daily that is a cross, I find myself using it as a touchstone as I utter "shalom" over and over. I began to think about the word I was praying and what it must have looked like when Jesus saw the Hebrew, it was beautiful. I started thinking about what those letters would look like as a tattoo. Just the simple Hebrew letters שלום
I thought and thought about it, deep inside before ever uttering a word. I finally started talking about my crazy thought to Handsome and the girls. When I got in the habit of checking out Pinterest for shalom tattoos, my incredible husband said, "if you're really going to do this it needs to be art, not just Hebrew letters." At first I was irked because I really wanted just the letters and then one morning a site I'd never seen appeared in my Google search. Hebrew Tattoos. I knew I found the place to design my tattoo. I immediately sent the link to Anna. She encouraged me to email them. I did.
The rest you might say is history. From my first message introducing myself to them, David (who is working on his PHD in Jewish history and linguistics) seemed to understand exactly what I wanted.
"...indeed the word "Shalom" shares its grammatical root with the word "Shalem" ("whole" or "complete") and with the verb "Sheelem" ("pay").The artist he suggest was Gabriel, I have to admit I was hoping for Neomi (my Mom has always loved the book of Ruth) but since I really felt like someone bigger than me was handling this journey I simply responded with the anticipation of an eager child and continued my prayer of shalom, feeling that deep peace surrounding this art. After what seemed an eternity, but was actually the next day, Gabriel messaged asking some questions one of them being if I was certain that I didn't want a "green lazy-boy recliner!!!"
Would you consider a piece where the word "Shalom" creates the shape of an anchor? Or maybe both "Shalom" and "Tikvah" (=hope)?"
We emailed back and forth for a few weeks until Gabriel felt he had a firm grasp of my desire and vision for a tattoo. I got on his drawing schedule and received my artwork as promised on July 3rd. Talk about excited, it is perfect!! During my wait, I looked at the portfolios of several tattoo artists. Anna strongly recommended Connor Humphrey, owner of Super Nova Tattoo in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Connor generously worked with me on scheduling a time that all three girls could be there and my Handsome husband.
Today was the day I had been waiting for since I first sent that email on April 15th. Four months of praying, anticipating, wondering if it was the right decision...YES! I walked in this afternoon and the first thing I saw was a beautiful American Bison mount, a sign sure as anything as it's my favorite animal. Connor's shop was filled with curious items, things I remembered from my childhood and even an "asswatch" taxidermy! We had a fun filled afternoon and I know this beautiful anchor will be my touchstone for the rest of my crazy blessed life!
Anchor-the christian symbol for hope
Wow. As we pause to reflect what is important this year, your words have made a powerful impact. Thanks so much for sharing this journey with us. Your tremendous spirit has blessed us all.ReplyDelete
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