Tattoo #9 – From Eden to Zion

Location on Body: Opposing hips/lovehandles

Shop: Mother’s Tattoo in Covington, KY

Time it Took: About 45 painful minutes

Cost: $150 (this was for Kami and me)

The Story: So, it’s been about 14 months since my last tattoo and alot has gone down. One of the most prominent “landmarks” of this last year was our involvement in a discipleship program called the Story Formed Life. It’s a 10 week course with each week dedicated to an element of the story. Here are the weeks:

  1. Creationdscn1456
  2. The Fall
  3. The Gospel
  4. Lordship
  5. Sonship
  6. The Spirit Filled Life
  7. The Spiritual Disciplines
  8. The Church
  9. The Kingdom
  10. Re-Creation

One of the most life changing elements for me during this course was in understanding how much a faith in the beginning and end of our story changes the points at which we find ourselves in between. In coming to believe and understand what it mean that God is my Creator I have come to fall in love with his bountiful love as an artist and lover. I have also taken comfort in his original design and intention. I have also come to see that this is his story and not mine. He is the author, the hero, and everything in between. These are the most fundamental truths of human anthropology. As I have wanted to understand myself I have learned that an essential element of this is that I need to understand my own history. This is the first element of that History. In this last year this has had a pretty dramatic impact on my identity and our collective identity as a family and community. In the course of losing the tree of life many of us have lost our story. But we are told that someday we will once again gain access to this tree. As my understanding of the Tree in the Garden has grown my desire to see the Tree in the City has grown as well. In I Peter it says that we are to “put or hope fully” in the day when Christ will be revealed. We’ve spent a lot of time dialoguing about whether this is meant to be literal or figurative and if it is literal what that might look like. One thing I have concluded is that if I did fully believe this my life would reflect that and right now it doesn’t…..but it does now more than it did a year ago. So my sci-fi/fantasy/theologian brother in law has had his aol screen name, and such, be eden2zion. I used to think it was pretty cheesy, and maybe it still is with the number “2” in the middle of it, but now I think I understand it. If you draw to points on a piece of paper there is a very clear line formed that will connect them.  In a lot of ways I have found that I can attribute my lack of direction in life from a lack of understanding where I have come from and where I am going.

The Art: In every tattoo conception there’s an interesting tension between the idea and the art. Sometimes I get an idea and have no idea how to communicate it. Sometimes I have a conception for the art and I find yourself almost forcing an idea upon it.  In this case I never considered getting a tattoo representing these ideas because I could not think of anything that would capture it…..until is saw this one day on google: “everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.” It was a quote by Kurt Vonnegut found in his book Slaughterhouse V. I didn’t know what the quote meant but I did know that it was the best description of the Garden of Eden that I had ever heard in such a succinct statement.  When I mentioned the idea to Kami she was pretty excited about it so we thought it would be a cool tattoo to get together. We then set out to find a corresponding passage that would describe the New Jerusalem. There were a lot of  very descriptive phrases found in Revelation 21 & 22.  Here is a list of some that we liked.

  • dscn1442They will be his people and he will be their God
  • There will be no more death
  • There will be no more crying
  • Everything will be new
  • The curse will be gone
  • They will see his face

Ultimately Kami decided a combination of 2 phrases that said: “we will see his face and he will wipe the tears from our eyes.” I wanted a “literary” looking font. This was the first one that we chose, this also shows the layout of the words that we chose.


One of the hardest things that we had to figure out was the location on the body that we were going to place it. We wanted it on opposing body parts but I am not exactly a clean slate. One leg and shoulder was out of the picture. When we talked to our artist, Brian, he mentioned the possibility of doing it on the feet. We considered that for a while. I wanted upper ribs but that would have made Kami’s less visible so ultimately we decided to go with the lower rib/love handle area.  dscn14553

The Experience: Holy crap! It hurt like h***! There’s something about this area that, when tampered with, makes your entire core convulse and spasm in a twitching manner. I think it’s the same thing that makes that area ticklish. The first 10 minutes were the worst and then your body kind of chills out a bit. I think one of the coolest things about getting the tattoo for me was the fact that Kami and I got something that was matching. I love how it looks on her and I love that we have the same message and we got it at the same time.

Click to Enlarge, of course.



From Eden to Zion tattoo


Everything Was Beautiful and nothing hurt

I like the art,  I like the message, AND and I like Kami, BUT I picture this text as being complimentary to other tattoos which I have not yet gotten. So,  I am going to rate this tattoo on the

Regretability Scale : .25 out of 10


7 thoughts

  1. Really like the new tats, the concept, the font, everything…. We’re really bumming we couldn’t make it to the class last Sat, but we had already set up a night to get together with a family that we’ve been trying to connect with for a while. Please keep us in the loop on any upcoming days, and we hope to get our families together sometime in the near future…

    (Hope that heals quickly, ouch…)

  2. Hey Ben- I was told when I got my tattoo that any place that might be stretched (as in a pregnancy) wouldn’t stay the same would permanantly distort…so does this mean you and Kami have completed your family? I’ve really enjoyed hearing all your thoughts on tattoos…

  3. thanks daniel – let’s hang out soon. we’ll be free after next weekend.

    abbey – we were told that after 4 kids there is a good chance that that skin will be as stretched out as it’s going to be…..otherwise we may have to deal with stretched and distorted tattoos for kami. does that answer your question?

  4. Incredible! I love the both the concepts and the quote selections. Vonnegut is one of my favorite writers…and I’m pretty well enamored with the Author and Finisher of our Faith. Once again, you’ve given me the itch for more ink…

  5. I don’t understand why the ribs area wouldn’t have worked for kami?? I guess the hips are sweet.

    Totally unrelated to tattoos, but you’ll be impressed with me (aka, I’ve got lots of pride): (1) the other night I prayed a lot for God to take my judgmental being from me and to give me a spirit of peace, humility, grace, and love. Rhett got to pray for me about this too. (2) in order to force myself to look at your blog sometime, I’ve added it to my bookmarks…you’re right next to my gmail…so whether or not I actually check more of your blog out, I’ll at least think of you everyday…that’s something special.

  6. those look so amazing. [i’m serious]. i love them. so much, i almost want to get ones that will match you guys.
    praise the lord!
    and also, i realize that i still owe you a written story of redemption, victory, freedom, and fat loss. it will come, don’t worry!

    dude. if you hear about an insanely cheap ticket out there, let me know. i want to come!

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