Most of us get bruised as we make our way through this world. Sometimes those bruises take a long time to heal, and might leave us tender and scarred beneath the surface. In Memento, Leonard lets his tattoos and notes guide him. He trusts them completely, and they become his truth. In the same way, we sometimes let our wounds control our actions and outlook on life. The world is full of people who let their scars do the talking.
I find it interesting that the risen Jesus still had the wounds from his crucifixion. It makes me speculate: perhaps those wounds that we have suffered in service to God will be a part of our perfect resurrection body. Our images of heaven might feature beautiful men and women with perfect teeth and unblemished skin, but I wonder if the truth might be different. Perhaps Paul, and all those who can say with him that they “…bear on my body the marks of Jesus…” might still have those wounds in heaven and – far from being a sign of imperfection and suffering – they might be a badge of honour.
But, as I was saying, sometimes those wounds are hidden; there are unseen scars. They count too. As I hinted at above, it’s the unseen tattoos that tend to have the most control over us. I’ve acquired a few cuts and grazes on my soul in my attempts to follow Jesus, but I don’t want them to shape me negatively. Instead I try to think of them a bit like Memento tattoos. They spell out words too – words like obedient and owned by God and faithful. After all, I wouldn’t have got them if it wasn’t for the risks I’ve taken in trying to serve Him. I don’t want to ignore them, or try to pretend that they’re not there, but neither do I want to relate to the world out of hurts and disappointments. Paul, the master of being wounded both by and for God, understood, I think, that these internal tattoos were sacraments – reminders of the divine – when he said, “…I delight in weaknesses, insults, hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties, for when I am weak, then I am strong.”