Yes, I went out and got a tattoo. For real. Not one of those stick on things. A real one that got scratched on for real with real ink by a real ink artist named DJ who is just up the street from me.
DJ is a biker with tattoos all over his body, most of which have to do with one he calls Morningstar. I’ve lost count of all of the various conspiracy stories he has, but he also has Three Rules: You don’t hurt children. You don’t hurt women. You don’t hurt animals.
When he told me that, I smiled and looked at him and said, “Hmm . . . I guess your father was one tough man to live with.” He looked at me and his jaw dropped. “My father was an SOB who beat me and my mother and killed my dog. How did you know that?”
I smiled and said, “Your tatts tell me you have seen the face of Evil and you want everyone to know it exits. Your rules tell me of the one face of Evil you’ve known personally.”
I think that cemented our relationship.
Now, the man voted for Trump – probably would again – and there’s lots about which we disagree but I see a good heart beating under all that pain.
He’s become a friend. I know he’d do just about anything I asked him to do. And, I must say that to see DJ smile is to see something that simply warms the soul – especially when he talks about his grandmother.
DJ listened to my story about Louie before he went to work on the design and smiled broadly. That’s when he told me the Story of the Three Ants. He said that there are three ants in the world whose job it is to get under our skin and move us off our chosen path.
The first ant is the oldest ant. His name is Jealousy.
The second ant was created shortly after the first. His name is Greed.
And, the third ant was born of their union. His name is Anger.
DJ claims to have created this story after years of listening to his own story and those of others. Oh, and he might have heard some of it from his grandmother. He tells me he has no religion. This, he said, is his philosophy in life. But, he said, you know, Joy Anyway is the moral of the story of The Three Ants.
This tat is a tribute to Louie, of course, but it’s also a great visual reminder of the Way of Jesus. As people of The Way, we are compelled to look deep into the abyss and find the face of Jesus. Our vocation in life is to look into the face of others and not just seek but serve Christ. Our covenant is to find the justice and joy that lies at the very center of creation.
That’s what I think of every time I look at my arm. And, Louie, of course. Always loving, always teaching, even from beyond the veil. And, DJ, whom Louie would have loved and DJ would have loved him in return.
Because, you know, that’s the Way of the Cross, the Way of Jesus. Joy, anyway!