(Just because I have a love story tattoo and then wrote a blog post about it does not mean we’re perfect or are even close to having it all figured out. Just two nights ago we got into a fight (over nothing) and he spent the evening on the patio smoking a cigar and I spent the evening enraged-cleaning the toy room and we didn’t talk until finally someone said those words that are simple but so incredibly hard to say, “I’m sorry.” You should know that marriage is a lifetime of that: being rude, selfish, and then finding the words to say you’re sorry, and beginning again. And that’s what we’re working on. It’s hard sometimes because we’re all jerks by nature and it’s hard to choose another person over ourselves, every day, forever. But with God’s grace, it’s possible! You can know we’re fine now because Shawn has since chased me around the house with the shock collar and tried to buzz me and I screamed. Flirtatious little school boy. That’s when you know it’s good.)
Okay, here’s the background on the tattoo on my arm:
That little airplane at the top is the 5-seater Cesna that we flew in over the Andes Mountains in Bolivia, South America (where we met) on our way to a tribe in the Amazon jungle. Our whole team flew over, five at a time, and Shawn (21, from Ohio), and myself (16, from Colorado) ended up on the same trip into the tribe. I was petrified to fly on such a small plane, but it ended up being a thrill. Takeoff felt like we were speeding along in a go-cart, until we were suddenly higher, so high we could almost swoop down and touch the snow that frosted the grand peaks of the Andes. That view left me speechless. The mark of a Creator was evident there. There’s no way those things just happen, just form themselves at will. There’s no way we would “just so happen” to meet on a trip like that, meet primitive Indians and buy their bows and arrows, share those life experiences, and eventually marry and continue the adventure. It was God who brought us together, an answer to a young Jenn’s prayer for a someday-husband, and an answer to Shawn’s prayer for a someday-wife.
The 1/3 and the envelope both symbolize the three-page love letter that landed in my mailbox years after we met in Bolivia. It also happened to arrive on Valentine’s Day… a detail Shawn never considered but God had a hand in. The letter was gutsy and asked if a guy like him ever had a chance with a girl like me. I sure am glad he took that risk and sent me that letter.
The rose is from the day Shawn proposed, only I didn’t know he was going to propose. I didn’t know when he gave me a ride from where I was living in Wisconsin to my home in Colorado that he had sold his shotgun and had a diamond ring in his pocket the whole time. We had only been “calling each other” for three months, we didn’t even live in the same state. But nevertheless, he didn’t waste any time. (Thank goodness.) I’d later learn that’s the Shawn DeAtley way: go big or go home. So it wasn’t until later in the day after he proposed at Glenmere Park (my favorite park in my hometown) that the dozen roses he had given me earlier that morning were roses of significance. He and his older brother had made a pact to never give a girl a dozen roses until the day they were going to propose. Lucky me, the first to get a dozen roses from Shawn.
The love letter also represents the Bible, the greatest love letter ever written. If you’re not sure, stop listening to those around you/the culture/podcasts/even the pastor, push your preconceived notions aside, and read it for yourself. We deserved death and hell, and Jesus provided a way. There’s no greater love story than that!!
Here’s a blog post on my first tattoo: hope on my arm.