Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tattoo Story #4- It's got nothing to do with luck

All work done by Michael Facchini
at Blackhole Tattoo (West) in Beaverton,OR
As the phelbotomist put the blood draining needle in my arm on the claustraphobic bus turned blood bank, she asked me if 13 was my lucky number.  I get asked this question on a regular basis, as I knew I would. I have after all, an orange and yellow star emblazoned on my arm with a 13 in the center. That 13 has nothing to do with luck though, and everything to do with a good choice, covenant and a God who can get you through anything.

13.5 years ago, I made one of the best choices ever, I married Valentine. He made the same excellent choice in choosing me.  We continue to  make that choice everyday, and have for these 13 plus years.We had a whirlwind long distance relationship prior to that day in May, but we knew for certain that we had chosen well. Val and I met in line for the bathroom at a show that some friends were playing, and he happened to be in the opening act. We realized we had a lot of fun together. We could make each other laugh with our twisted, sarcastic, bitter humor. We enjoyed a lot of the same things, and we just loved to be together, though we were hardly in the same state. So we didn't wait year and years to get to know each other, we just knew and we dove in and made a choice. We got to know each other very quickly as we traveled in a van with 7 other people for much of the first years of our marriage, sharing a bench seat together. We moved in and out of various apartments.  We finished college, started our careers and most importantly, or life changing, had two kids. Over the years we learned a lot about each other, some good, some bad, but somehow we always managed to have fun.We made a good choice, but it wasn't just a choice.

We made a covenant. We made a covenant with ourselves and God that we would stick by this choice for good or bad. It is a sacred promise. Thankfully, we both made the same promise and commitment. Whether times are fun or not, we are in this together, till death do us part. We work at this choice, together. There were no easy years, every year had it's own joys and struggles.  Each year on our anniversary though, we both knew we had made the right choice in making this covenant and choosing each other. We are committed to that choice too, whether we happened to like each other at the time or not. Marriage is a choice, every day, to live with and submit to each other. Some days we are good at that, a lot of days we aren't, but we still choose each other. Some see that choice as a shackle, but to me it is freedom.  There is freedom and peace in knowing that I get to spend the rest of my, or his life with him, with the person I want to be with most everyday.  No matter what, unless it's death or debilitating brain injury, we have each other. Why would I not want to be with the person who loves me most in the world? We entered into this contract together and we both take it very seriously.

The God that we entered into covenant with has our back too.  He keeps up his end by helping us through, and between the two of us, we can usually see how he is working in our lives. He is there for us, so it's not just us alone. We have a third party, and intermediary, someone to turn to, when that other person is driving us nuts, or when neither one of us has the strength to encourage the other.

Work on the right done by Michael Facchini
at Blackhole Tattoo (West) in Beaverton,OR
On our tenth anniversary we got the sugar skull tattoos.  Sitting in a tattoo shop as two artists give each person a tattoo at the same time may not be romantic to a lot of couples, but that is part of what makes us perfect for one another.  To us it was special, it was a one of a kind (they match but they are each different) reminder to each of us, that we made the right choice for till death do us part. We had stars put on for every year of marriage, and each year we celebrate by adding another.

Our thirteenth year was particularly difficult. Deaths, Illness and floods made for difficult days together. Just as we would clean up the mess for one thing, we would get slammed by something else. At the end of the day though, that same sick sense of humor would get us laughing, and God brought friends to our rescue on more than one occasion. We survived all of it together and we wanted to celebrate that with a special star, a victory star.

I made a great choice over 13 years ago, and our marriage has nothing to do with luck.  I have an amazing husband who loves me.  I never make the bed, I leave messes behind me as I go about the business of workaholic youth pastor, and I continue to tattoo my body.  He may not like the messes, but he puts up with me, and he loves each new tattoo I get. While they turn some people off, well, let's just say for Val it's the opposite. He loves me, he makes me laugh, he fathers our children well, he works hard to provide for us no matter how hard, or annoying the job may be. He perseveres through depression and anxiety to be there for us.  He also gets ridiculous tattoos so that when he is old and decrepit we will still have something to laugh about, he lets me put swings up in the kitchen, encourages the addition of my dream dog/horse to the family and allows painted chalkboards on the walls. He encourages me to be my best self, he challenges me, and he makes me laugh, just about every day. I didn't get lucky, I made a damn good choice, and so did he.

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