(Photo: Kate Scott)
Sometimes it feels like the whole world is falling in around your ears: your personal life is strained, the nation burns with fierce disagreement, and Mother Nature is throwing a fit. It is easy in an atmosphere like this to develop a sense of pessimism and frustration and to let the negativity of it all warp us. This is a perfectly human response.
Gregory Boyle, the author of the life-changing book Tattoos on the Heart, presents the heartbreaking stories of boys, men, and the real-life struggle of forgiveness and salvation that we all face, some more subtle than others; Boyle reminds us that we all need support at some time or other, a lesson certainly demanding heed in current times.
As a hurricane proceeds to eat off the coast of Texas and immigration issues explode close to home, this gentle teaching of support and care urges us to remember that others in the world require our love and support more than ever, and very often, our forgiveness.
The hardest thing to find within the self is forgiveness. The thirst for revenge, for ‘justice’—whether truly justified or not—is a natural hardwiring in the human being, and yet it is this forgiveness and understanding that Tattoos on the Heart presents to its readers. In these days and times, it is difficult to forgive those people who voted differently from us last election, or the people who hold opposing opinions from us, or who refuse to act for the bettering of the nation. What Boyle shows over and over again is that no matter what these people say or do or think, they are still people with souls that crave love, acceptance, and assistance. Without these things, they will be destroyed.
Sometimes, it is the little transgressions that are the hardest to let go of, and so Boyle lends us an example, these tattoos that teach.