Prison Diary: Cody's Tears

One nice thing about having tattoos is that they give you something to talk about at the prison.

I have two tattoos. My first one was a half sleeve on my left arm, a tattoo of Rublev's icon. The tattoo is my hospitality reminder. I look at it and am reminded that the person standing in front of me is to be received as Christ.

Last spring I got a second tattoo, inspired by some knuckle tattoos I saw in Brazil. I was at a community gathering to promote CURA Brazil, talking with a local guy who that three knuckle tattoos. A crown on one knuckle, a cross on a second, and a dove on a third. "What do those represent?" I asked. "The Father, Son and Holy Spirit," he replied, "The crown is for the Father, the cross for the Son, and the dove for the Holy Spirit."

I loved that, but didn't think knuckle tattoos were going to work in my social location. But the idea stuck. I had also wanted to get a tattoo with the Latin Deus Caritas Est ("God is love"). So last spring I combined the ideas for my second tattoo, a band on my upper left arm, the words Deus Caritas Est with the crown, cross and dove icons in between the words.

As you can imagine, the Men in White have tons of tattoos.

My favorite tattoo out at the prison are Cody's tears.

This is going to be hard to explain without a visual, but on the inside of Cody's index fingers, just below the knuckle, there is a small tear tattoo, one on each finger. Since it's small and on the inside of the index finger, it's a really inconspicuous tattoo, one of the most inconspicuous you'll ever see.

But when Cody bends his fingers and lifts his knuckles to the corner of his eyes--like the hand position indicated here, but with the index fingers more exposed--the tear tattoos appear, as if he were crying.

"These are my tears," Cody showed me one day lifting his knuckles to his eyes.

Hidden tears, that he always carries with him. Secret tears, that he allowed me to see.

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