Can you help me believe it?
I got this tattoo last summer and whenever people ask me about it, I usually fumble over the story because it's quite personal. That, and the fact that someone is looking at me, asking me questions about myself, makes me a little nervous. I have two more tattoos, but this is the one I get asked about the most because the others are less visible. One of these days I may get around to telling all their stories, but for today I just have the one.
My women's Bible study group was studying the gospel of John a few years ago and I realized that John the Beloved disciple was not just some moniker dreamed up by the early church to distinguish him from John the Baptist; rather, it was John, the writer of this book, who had actually named himself. Then one day, as I reread the famous Last Supper passage, I pictured all the disciples sitting there with Jesus, and I thought to myself how Jesus could not have had any "special" friends in the group -- that he actually loved them all, and could never have shown favoritism to one particular disciple. And yet, the language reads exactly that way, as if John feels like he is Christ's favorite disciple. John feels completely loved and accepted by Christ, and whenever he thinks of himself in relation to him, beloved is the only word that works. I was struck by this close feeling, and I wanted to believe that name for myself, to see Janna as a "disciple whom Jesus loved."
Even though my bird picture is purple, it's actually a dove. When Jesus was baptized by the other John, the Bible says that Jesus saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and a voice came from heaven saying, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." A dove in flight became the inspiration for this name I wished to claim for myself, so I asked an artist to stamp it on my left forearm permanently. Now, when I see it, I try and remember the beloved feeling that jumped off the page at me that day. Then I tell myself it's true for me too.