I recently decided that if I ever get a tattoo it’s going to be an ampersand sign (you know, this thing –> &). It’ll be really small on the inside left of my left wrist. (True confession: until autocorrect spelling changed it in this blog post, I legitimately thought it was ‘amperstand’. Dang it.)
Okay, anyways, why the ampersand? Of late, I have been consistently struck by the dual nature of life. That it is always blank AND blank. Joy and pain. Simple and heavy. Death and life. Release and fear. Real life – deep, meaningful, and interesting life – hinges on the ampersand. And while it will often feel like you’ve been smacked in the face, or like you’ve had the wind knocked out of you, I’m glad it works this way. The ampersand makes life compelling enough for me to want to keep doing it for another 60+ years. It keeps me unable to rely on my own control and self-sufficiency. It reminds me that I need people and that I need God.
One of my favorite lines from the new Florence + The Machine album is in her song, Shake It Out, where she says: “I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope.” Gosh, I love that so much. So, so much.
The ampersand tattoo would be my reminder to be ready for both. So that when I get overwhelmed or consumed by just one side, I won’t get tunnel-vision, stuck there. I don’t know if I’ll actually ever get the tattoo, but for now I’m glad for the pondering…and for the spelling lesson!