I'm Sorry, Grandma

10:19 PM

This is an apology to my grandmother. Because 1) I know she will read this, and 2) I know she can’t ever look at my wrist the same again. And for that grandma, I am sorry but hear me out? A few weeks ago, I got a tattoo. And what used to be skin is now replaced with a few words.

Words. I think they’re important, that’s why I’m here. In fact, I got my tattoo out of dedication to words that resonate with me. The ones I received working at Summer Camp in 2008 and then again in 2011, the encouragement of strangers on the road in 2012, the way my world was rocked in Africa this summer. All of them resound with this piece of slam poetry, that tells me to “shake the dust”. Sound familiar? I had an experience in Rwanda this summer and wrote about it. 

If you wish, you may read it here ---> Shake The Dust 06/08, wanna hear the actual piece of poetry, click here --->Shake The Dust - Anis Mojgani

When I look back at the formative times in my life, they have all required the same four things:

  1. complete surrender to God
  2. overwhelming emphasis of community
  3. a dedication to simplicity
  4. empowerment to overcome

When these four come together, I come alive. Even amongst the hardships of men introducing themselves as demons, lost luggage making its way to Sudan, spiritual doubt and utter delirium, there is an ability to embrace and overcome. 

I was thinking the other day about this porcelain doll that I had growing up. And how extremely frustrated I was that she just had to sit on the shelf all day. What is the point of a porcelain doll but to just sit and collect dust? When you allow excess in your life, you become buried in the dirt of your excess, and just like the porcelain doll, your stagnant state does nothing but look pretty. I have become tired of a life that just looks good, that just stands there and looks pretty. Life is raw, it’s hard and it requires movement. My tattoo is nothing but a reminder that the hard things are the blessings because we were given the ability to shake it. And when we shake it, things happen. 

So when it rains, and the dirt you have accumulated becomes muddy & thick and hard to wade through, invest in rain boots and realize that the same water that created that mud will also wash you clean.

May you never sit around long enough to collect dust. But when you do, and you inevitably will (I know because I have), realize that the earth standing in front of you was made by a man who wants to give you the fullest life you can imagine. There are things to be done and people to love, and when you realize that, nothing else matters. And hello, this might be cliche central but give it a chance. So the stamp on my wrist might be permanent, Grandma, but thank you for accepting me anyway. I hope you can understand my slight act of rebellion. 

Love, Madeline

PS: one time this little boy taught me what it was to literally shake the dust, this is how you do it.




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