When I went to the tattoo parlor in Boulder Colorado 13 years ago, I had no idea I would leave there over four hours later with a piece of art that would take up the majority of my left leg. My vision of a small exploding pocket watch unfolded into a Dali like piece of art that my tattoo artist was quite proud of. His colored arms held out the completed drawing that would soon be permanently engrained in my skin. “What do you think?” he asked me holding up the art piece like a proud kindergardener who had colored his first drawing. “Awesome! Let’s do this” I answered back not wanting to kill his enthusiasm right before he stabbed me with needles. Regardless, I was about to get way more ink than I had bargained for.
Some 10+ years later, people still ask me what this clock means. I dreamed up the tattoo originally as a symbol of the need for us as people to stop and live life in the moment. I usually tend to focus on my past, or get stressed about the future without seeing the opportunities and blessings that are right here in front of me. I have spent my entire life trying to appreciate the small moments of time that grace us where we currently live. My tattoo is a reminder of this perspective.
While explaining this to a buddy of mine this past weekend, I realized that the meaning of this symbol has changed somewhat as I have gotten older.
I remember my mother telling me when I was young that she always felt like she was a teenager trapped in an older person’s body. She told me that she is pretty sure she will be young in heaven. I always liked the thought of this eternal fountain of youth.
I began to wonder, am I trying to cheat the inevitable aging process by my healthy diet and endless pursuit of physical activity? I fear the answer is ‘yes’, although I am not naive enough to discount the inevitable.
Is the exploding clock a subconscious statement about not allowing life to catch up to me?
Watching the Tour de France during July was yet another lesson in the inevitable aging process. While Lance Armstrong was indeed strong out there, he could not rival his younger counterparts in physical skill. I am sure however that he truly thought he could take the first place podium spot going into the race. Even the greatest cyclist in the world is getting older….
Age eventually stares us all in the face. I am currently praying for my mother’s physical health as she is going through more than she should ever have to bear physically. Her teenage spirit and young mind should never have to suffer through these pains. I love her so much it hurts me to see her struggle. Even my high school and college friends are complaining of bad backs, physical injuries, and other medical diagnoses.
Thinking about all of this, I am brought back to the eternal perspective that we must find comfort in as believers. We all live forever. This is perhaps the most comforting truth of all for those that are in Christ. This is my new interpretation of the exploding clock. Christ is what sets us free from the bounds of time.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.