Tattoos on the Heart By: Alaina Anderson

Chapter 1: God, I Guess

This chapter clearly demonstrated a theme of God's greatness. Every individual in this chapter was somehow impacted by God, when they were unable to grasp the concept of His vastness and love. As each individual was impacted by God's greatness, I began to reflect on how I was impacted by God, even when I was unable to realize or acknowledge it. Through this reflection, I was able to truly see how present God was in my life. My favorite story from this chapter was the story of the man baptizing Fr. G with rose petals after Fr. G had felt like he messed up the Mass. It was the idea that this man cared and loved so much that made me equate this man to how God acts towards us, even after we fail.

Chapter 8: Success

Within this chapter, faithfulness is a constant theme. This chapter continually tells stories of homies who were killed by rivals. Even though these stories were truly upsetting and hard to read, they showed how difficult it can be to remain faithful during hardships. Remaining faithful is easily one of the things I struggle with the most in my faith. This chapter showed me that God is still present in hardships, and that He has a plan for those hardships. One story that I felt was the quintessential example of this was the story of Soledad. Even after she lost her two sons, she was able to pray for another woman's son, who was most likely in some way responsible for her sons' deaths. This chapter focuses not on successes but on how we should remain faithful in times that we would consider failures.

Chapter 9: Kinship

The most apparent theme I saw in this chapter was acceptance. The stories in this chapter focussed on the value of working together and viewing everyone as equals because we are all the same in God's eyes. Before reading this chapter, I vaguely understood the value of acceptance, but the stories showed how even the smallest acts of compassion and equal treatment can greatly impact others' lives. My favorite story was about Bandit's daughter Carolina, who was the first in her family to go to college. This story focussed on showing Bandit and his family that they had worth just like everyone else. This story along with the others shows how creating an infinite circle of acceptance, or kinship, can resolve our problems.

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