The Little Things
September 17, 2014

I’ve been holding out on a secret from the summer, and I’m finally ready to talk about it! This past July (July 10th to be exact) I got my first tattoo, and I’m still so thrilled about it! This wasn’t a hasty decision by any means, as I’ve been mulling it over for the last 9 years. Even as I debated it that day (it wasn’t that I wasn’t confident with my decision, it’s just that I just really take a LONG time to make decisions), my parents and brothers kept texting saying “just do it already”, so I took the leap.

I went with Melissa to Carmel Ink & Tattoo. I was shaking so badly and told the tattoo artist over and over “I can’t feel my hands. My hands are numb”. He was really good about speaking calmly and assuring me that it would be just fine.

It Is WellThe entire tattoo took about 2 minutes and 17 seconds, so it was over quickly. It also wasn’t painful- I’ve had mosquito bites hurt worse! Melissa asked me part way through which was worse- this tattoo or running the speedway at the Indy Mini Marathon. I immediately said the speedway was more painful; what can I say- I really hate that speedway. And then it was over in a flash.

It is Well TattooAnd see, it wasn’t too bad at all. I was clearly still pretty happy about the entire thing. So what did I get?

It Is Well Tattoo“It Is Well”

So why the phrase “It Is Well”? It comes from the hymn “it is well”, written by Horatio Spafford after a series of traumatic events in his life. First, his oldest son died from Scarlet Fever, and the year after the Great Chicago Fire ruined him financially. Two years after this, he sent his daughters and wife to Europe (he was supposed to go with them, but something with his business came up, so he was planning to meet them a bit later), and while sailing across the Atlantic, the boat hit a sea vessel and sank. He lost all four of his daughters, although his wife survived. As he was sailing to meet his wife in Europe, he sailed past the place where his daughters died, and he was inspired to write the lyrics to the now popular song “It Is Well”. This man knows deep and unrelenting pain, yet he penned the following words:

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,

when sorrow like sea billows roll;

whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It Is well, it is well, with my soul.”

In college I lost three friends in a very traumatic car accident, and one of my close friends and mentors who helped me through the loss died less than a year later of stomach cancer. Immediately after these events, I knew I wanted something that would honor them, as these two circumstances changed my life deeply in many ways. Because of these situations, along with many others in my life, this song and phrase has been a constant in my life. To me “it is well” is one of the most calming, peaceful, and grounding phrases I’ve ever found. To know that, no matter what the circumstance I’m going through, no matter how painful, the bigger story is that it IS well with my soul. I love the message behind the phrase, and I love how much it encompasses both my professional life as a counselor, as well as my personal story. As a counselor, so much of what I do is walk alongside someone in the depths of their pain. It is well. I love that.

If you’re interested in listening to the entire song, here’s the link:

It Is Well

It Is Well

The tattoo still in the healing process…

I’m so thankful for the hope and promises that I can cling to in life. I’m thankful that, through the pain and hardships and loss, it is still well.


15 responses to “Even So, It Is Well”

  1. Melissa says:

    Love it & you. So glad I could be there, too. That once in a decade experience was so worth the 2 minutes 😉 Love you!

    • says:

      hahaha. I’m glad you could be there too for that very overwhelming experience 🙂 Also- thank you thank you thank you again for recording it for me! 🙂

  2. Rachel says:

    I have that tattoo as well, but it’s the full first stanza…I got it after a very tough year a few years ago now. What a wonderful hymn. I got it on my back by my ribs. A little painful, but I love it. It is a great reminder that no matter what life throws at us, we can choose joy.

    • says:

      I love that! I wanted mine somewhere that I could see constantly, and wanted to keep it small due to work, so I couldn’t get the whole phrase. I’m glad you have it too though, and that you love it!

  3. Beautiful! How did you decide on the location?

    • says:

      Thank you! Well, I wanted to get it where I could see it, but I wanted something that I could really easily cover. With that location and the size of it, if I put a hair twistie on my wrist it covers it. It’s also pretty small, so many people don’t even notice it very quickly. I still have people who will say “Oh- you just got a tattoo!” and they haven’t realized I’ve had it for the last 2 months!

  4. I know the feeling of having one particular thing that brings your comfort after something traumatic has happened in your life. I think ‘It is well’ is a wonderful phrase and I don’t think you’ll ever regret getting it as long as it holds meaning to you. My father died of lung disease in 2011. While he was in the hospital on a ventilator, my brother brought him a sticker that said ‘breathe’ on it to encourage him. After he died, I found a bracelet in a store with that same word on it and I’ve worn it every day since.

  5. Jennifer Albrighton (@JenniferAlbrig5) says:

    Its lovely,love the poem and the story,I did the same thing last year….I’m 54,and I have a small forget-me-not flower on the outside of my wrist,to mark the 10th anniversary of my Mum’s passing from bowel cancer,and to remind me of my sister too…. my absolute favourite poem is by WB Yeats….(He wishes for the cloths of heaven) written exactly 100 years prior to my last daughters birth year 1893..the last line is…tread softly for you tread on my dreams…..amazing

    • says:

      What a great way to remember your mum! I’ll have to look up that poem- that last line is fantastic!

  6. Neil says:

    I got my second tattoo done after my symptoms flared up and I was diagnosed.

    5.5 hours of insane sweating.
    I’ve literally never felt one symptom so strong in my life. The pain was bad, but I was more concerned with severe dehydration.
    I anticipated it though and bought in ~2L per sitting (2 sittings) of Aquarius which is a Spanish drink that’s really hydrating with electrolytes!

  7. […] LOVE it (and I love my tattoo as well!) I just put two coats of the color on (plus a base and top coat), and felt like that was more than […]

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