I got a tattoo yesterday. Following aftercare instructions to leave my forearm wrapped overnight, I removed the covering and cleaned up the ink that had come to the surface this morning. I kept staring at my forearm, taking in the beauty of the artisan text, wanting to hold onto it as though I was admiring a new haircut or a new outfit fitted to my size smaller body after losing weight, until it occurred to me – it isn’t going away, it won’t grow out or morph to a bigger size, …. it’s permanent!
How many things in our earthly life are permanent? I remember the sweet good-byes at my son’s preschool on the last day before we moved from MA to NJ, and a silly little 4-year old girl in his “Chipmunks” class boldly kissed him on the cheek. As Josh brought his hand to his cheek to wipe off the cooties, the little chipmunk was quick to add “It’s a forever kiss!” I’ve never forgotten that moment, that line “It’s a forever kiss!”, even though it happened 24 years ago last week.
Isn’t that what any of us wants, to be loved forever, to be marked as beloved in a permanent way? Yes, my tattoo is permanent, but so are the promises that lay beneath the words on my arm. I wanted to be branded as belonging to God, and so the forever kiss on my arms identifies what fruit the Spirit produces in me when I will give myself over to His forever love. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Kindness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, & Self-Control. Definitely the fruit of a forever kiss!