Monday, February 10, 2014

Timshel

Tattoo1

Has something ever meant so much to you that you've found it hard to write about it? I've started and erased this blog post so many times because everything I've written has seem too.....light, I guess. Since last Wednesday, when I got this tattoo during a snow day afternoon with a friend at work, I've had so many people ask what it means. To be honest, I've found it hard to explain without a 20-minute diatribe (which would probably be about 20,000 paragraphs here). I'd written a little bit about wanting this tattoo on the blog before, and even posted an excerpt from the book it's from, but it's been hard to put into words just how much this simple little word has impacted me personally. Today, though, I'm going to try. (This is a version brief enough to give Cliff Notes nightmares, but bear with me for now and then go buy yourself a copy of the book!)

East of Eden by John Steinbeck has been my favorite book for.......well, I honestly don't know how long, but it's ages, believe me. The story revolves around this concept of timshel, a Hebrew word, which is illuminated toward the end of the book when one of the characters explains it's translation. The word is found in Genesis 4, when God is addressing Cain regarding sin, following his murder of Abel. In the King James version of the Bible, "timshel" is translated as "thou shalt"--a promise that Cain would conquer sin. The American standard translates it as "do thou"--a command to conquer sin. However, in the book, the correct translation is actually "thou mayest."  It's a choice, an opportunity. It's a gift. Timshel means that I guide my life closer to God or further away by my own free will--that God loves me enough to let me go, let me wound Him and walk away rather than control me--and that, because of that gift of love, I have the responsibility to make the best decisions possible in this life.

All that, from one little word.

Thanks for bearing with my not-so-eloquent explanation. I hope you have an amazing week full of opportunities and possibilities. Timshel.


Tattoo4

16 comments :

  1. A few things...

    1) You're awesome and have excellent taste in literature
    2) That tat is GORGEOUS
    3) I will probably reference this post in a forum I have to write tonight for my theology class (we've been studying "human nature" (or lack there of), sin, and the relationship of humankind to God. So--thanks for further supporting the point I'm going to try to make with my classmates! haha.

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    1. 1) YOU'RE awesome!
      2) Thanks!
      3) This is also awesome! Totally honored. You school those classmates! ;)

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  2. So gorgeous and such a great and beautiful reminder!

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    1. Thanks pretty lady! It's definitely super special to me.

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  3. Beautiful tattoo, beautiful meaning! Love it, girl!

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    1. Thanks so much! Hope you had a fantastic vacation!

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  4. Gorgeous! And I love the meaning behind it.

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    1. Thanks! I'm pretty smitten with it. :)

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  5. What an absolutely beautiful meaning behind your tattoo, and such lovely type. Hands down my favourite tattoo I've ever seen.

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    1. Ah, that means SO much. I found a font I liked, but I had to alter it quite a bit to get it exactly how I wanted it (and I am not at all talented with that kind of thing!), so it was a labor of love I guess. Ha. You are too sweet.

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  6. This is awesome, and its great to hear the meaning behind the tattoo!

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    1. Thanks! Some people are really secretive about their tattoos (I guess because they tend to be pretty personal), but I've never been that way; I figure, if I'm displaying it for the world to see, I shouldn't be afraid to explain why it means so much! :)

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    1. Thank you so much! It's definitely my favorite tattoo so far; it just encompasses so much!

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  8. Love it! I have wanted to get the same tat for a while. Never could settle on the placement or font! What font did you go with?

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    1. Thanks! I actually took a base font from a website and then altered it by hand to get what I wanted. The tattoo artist I used cleaned it up a little for me, because I'm far from an artist! :)

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