Tattoos on the Heart An inspiring story with a great message...

Preface and Introdution: Almost all of the prefaces and introductions that I have read are about boring, dry authors that prattle on for 20 pages before finally getting to the meat of the story. Tattoos on the Heart however is different. This book captured me from the very beginning, and I'm a different and better person by reading these stories, and finding myself within these pages. My favorite story of the Preface and Introductions was David's. His quote, which was "Yeah, but I know I can fly. I just need to catch a gust o' wind," was extremely powerful to me.

Preface and Introduction

Chapter 1 God, I Guess: The theme of this chapter, God, I Guess, reminds me how much we take God for granted. God gives us so much. If he wasn't thinking about us for every second of every day, then we would cease to exist. Yet, we take so much of what he gives us for granted. My favorite story of chapter one, is Willy's. When Willy realizes that he is firme - could not be one bit better. I think this realization is something many of us still haven't realized.

We are firme - we are enough.

Chapter 2 Dis-Grace: The theme, or the most important part of the chapter to me, was God's "no matter whatness". This to me, means the God is above all. He is above sin, hate, anger, jealousy, failure, disappointment, and sadness. God surpasses all because God doesn't care if you sin, if you hate, if you're jealous, if you fail, if you become a disappointment, or if you are sad, because, you could never be any of these things to God. My favorite story in this chapter is Speedy's, when he realizes that he has a good, amazing, and happy life.

God surpasses all.

Chapter 3 Compassion: I feel like in some way, all of the chapters are my favorite, but this chapter holds a special place in my heart. I connect deeply with this chapter, because I feel like compassion is so lacking in our world, that when I read about acts of compassion, I feels like I've reached an oasis in the desert. My favorite story from this chapter was Memo's, because he saw some horrible things about what our world really is. He felt compassion for his fellow human beings, and that is something that can never be bought.

"Here is what we seek: a compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor carry, rather than stand in judjment at how they carry it."

Chapter 4 Water, Oil, and Flame: The title of this chapter is about how we are baptized through water, oil, and flame. To me, it's also about how we are 'baptized' throughout our lives. Sometimes that baptism smells good, and feels nice: oil. Sometimes it's a nice splash of cool in the the summer: water. And sometimes it's not so pleasent: flame. But all of these 'baptisms' combine, and help to shape us into who we become. My favorite story from this chapter is Danny's, when he is trying to draw Fr. G, and he blames it on - " Well, whad ya spect. YA MOVED."

Don't Move.

Chapter 5 Slow Work: The lesson that this chapter is trying to teach, is possibly hardest lesson of all for me to learn. The lesson of this chapter is that God's work is slow. It doesn't happen on our time, by any stretch. God isn't on our schedule, we are on his, and we need to remember that. God will always answer our prayers, we just need to wait... no matter how long it takes. My favorite story from this chapter was Pedro's story about the light switch. This story reminds us that when we know what is good and right, that we have to fight against the darkness, and stay in the light.

"And the light...is better...than the darkness."

Chapter 6 Juristiction: This chapter reminds us that we all belong to one another. We are all connected, not just by friendships, and familial blood, but something much deeper than that. That we are connected to each other the way all humans are: we are all made in God's image. This makes us special. We will always have something in common with every other human being that walks the earth. My favorite story from this chapter was the story of Clever and Travieso. Although this is a very sad story, it reminds us that even if we try and separate ourselves from other people, somehow, we always end up in their juristiction.

We are all connected - by something stronger than iron.

Chapter 7 Gladness: The title of this chapter reminds me just how hard it can be to be happy. Not just to put a smile on, and act happy, but to be so happy - truly happy - that we feel as if we could burst out laughing at the thought of life, not because it's funny, but because it brings us joy to live. My favorite story from this chapter is probably Frankie's, because it just makes me laugh. I also like Adam and Ricky's story, because they are scared at first, but then their fear dissapears into gladness.

Let go of the fear...and just be happy.

Chapter 8 Success: This story reminds me that what the world considers as success is much different then what I consider success to be. I think success has a lot more to do with the person you are, and how many people you touch in you lifetime, than it does with material things. It also ties into our definition of success in Character Skills: using our privleged positions to empower other, promote justice, and initiate change. My favorite story of this chapter was Scarppy's, because even though it's sad, it shows what it means to be a true success. If you touch just one person in your whole life, you are more of a success than a person who died with a million dollars

Chapter 9: Kinship: I absolutely loved this chapter! This chapter reminded me to be a friend, not just to those who are kind to me, but especially to those who are unkind to me. One of my favorite stories from this chapter was P-nuts. I laughed harder at this story than I have laughed in a long time. I also love Bandit's story, because it reminds me that even if I fall from grace, I will always be welcomed back with open arms.

"We've forgotten that we belong to each other."

This book has taught me a lot about who I am, what I stand for, and who I want to be. It has reminded me that no person, no matter how small, mean, cruel, or unjust a person is, that they are no less worthy and deserving of my love than anyone else is. It has reminded me that every single person has a similar goal: to belong. That's all we really want. And the sooner we start to accept people for who they are, the better.

All we want is to belong.

Credits:

Created with images by castleguard - "heart sweetheart leaf" • blickpixel - "dandelion sky flower" • Naveen Kadam Photography - "Friendship" • KeithJJ - "mountain peak mountain range" • Thieme - "sunrise desert iran" • werner22brigitte - "glowing sun rise canim lake" • Rain Love AMR - "Sun" • Didgeman - "chain links of the chain iron" • Noel Reynolds - "A380 wing" • Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) - "Quotes - Kindness" • BenCremin - "Sunflower Sunset" • 3093594 - "spring lake water nature"

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