Three years ago I got my third tattoo. It is the most visible of the three because of its location, size and color. The decision to get this tattoo was thought out although the timing was a little spontaneous. We were attending a friend’s wedding down in Ashville, NC when the moment moved me to finally get this tattoo the day before the wedding.
I am often asked what is your tattoo and what is the meaning? I love that question because it allows me to remember my grandmothers. Both of my grandmothers were great women and have been with me on my spiritual journey. They each instilled and taught me many life lessons. My maternal grandmother instilled in me the love of education and expected that I would attain a graduate degree. One of my favorite trips with her was going to the Canadian Rockies with her 60+ church group. I was only 12 at the time but the seniors welcomed me with open arms. This might have been the beginning of my love and call to minister to the senior population.
My paternal grandmother also taught me many lessons. One of my fondest memories is of shooting pistols with her in her backyard in East Tennessee. My father and I were out back shooting the guns when she came over and said let me give that a try. I had been practicing all morning shooting and then running over to the target to see if I hit it, to only realize I had yet again missed the big paper target. Then my grandmother steps up, takes aim and fires. I ran over to the target to see if she hit it, dead center, bull’s-eye! I was so impressed; I asked Mamaw how did you get so good? Her reply, “I practice on the squirrels”.
You see my tattoo is a way for me to remember both of my grandmothers. It is taken from the center of the Tennessee flag and contains a blue circle with a red outline and three stars in the middle. When the Tennessee flag was created, the three stars represented the three areas of the state, East, Middle, and West Tennessee and the blue circle around the stars was to symbolize the unity of these areas. Both of my grandmothers were from Tennessee and I have some of my fondest memories from spending time with them in their homes in both Nashville and Blountville. I now like to think of the three stars as symbolizing each of my grandmothers and myself, forever bound together. The three stars are also a great reminder of the Holy Trinity and how we will always be connected through the love of God.