March 30, 2013 4:24:56 PM
I spent some time recently with Aimee and Kenneth Shaw of Shaw Pit Bull Rescue. They are animal lovers with a passion for Pit Bulls. These two, along with a group of volunteers called the "Pit Crew," devote much of their time and most of their income to rescuing this much maligned breed.
I was fascinated to see that they are so dedicated that they both have multiple tattoos of Pit Bulls. Now that's commitment!
I can't imagine having feelings so intense about anything that I would permanently embed in my skin with that image. (OK. I am fanatically obsessed with wine and chocolate. Still, not enough to be tattooed with icons of those things.)
In our area we have people who love their guns. This is an affection that I do not understand. But I'll bet there are lots of folks around here with tattoos of guns. I haven't seen any, probably due to my limited circle of friends. However, I have seen many tats of hearts pierced with bloody knives. Does this mean that the wearers love knives ... or blood? I have never known one of these people well enough to ask them.
Tattoos are permanent. Unfortunately, passion and love are not. It must feel sad, or maybe embarrassing, to have skin art about something you have lost interest in. That goes for the names of former sweethearts, or clubs, or anything that seemed so important at one time. We grow. Our interests change. God forbid that I would still wear some of the hairstyles that I once thought were so very cool.
Long ago, I knew a man who had a naked woman tattooed on his forearm. She covered most of the area from his elbow to his wrist. That "lady" remained an eternal reminder of one drunken night when he was a very young sailor on shore leave. Years later he had a hula skirt added to cover her up a bit. The dark blue ink blurred slightly over time, making her look like a dancer in the fog. He always wore long-sleeved shirts, no matter the weather.
In many ways, I admire people who have an intense passion for anything -- whether it is a cause, or a person, or even an animal. But maturity is about transformation. I no longer love some bands and folk singers with the intensity of my teens. Thankfully, tattoos were not in vogue in my youth. If they had been, I might be choosing my clothes today to cover declarations of adoration for Simon and Garfunkel, or Dylan lyrics that struck me as terribly profound.
We outgrow almost everything we once loved. It isn't sad. It is just part of that long journey to becoming ourselves. Being human means that we keep evolving until we die.
But some things are so essential, so precious, that they inspire a love that is timeless.
I dedicate my column today to people who have such deep passion that they offer their lives to something they believe in. Aimee and Kenneth Shaw are two of those people. They could give lessons about commitment. In a time when many romances fall apart in a few years, they have remained dedicated to each other and to their marriage for 24 years. They have joined forces with others to protect and aid a breed of dog that they believe in.
I also send happy Easter wishes to my Christian readers. I hope everyone finds their passion and the peace that comes with devotion.
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.