I went away and came back with words written on my arm. They're in me now, in my skin, the skin that is me, and that's how I want it. I need them close, need to see them every day, so that I can live them and breathe them until they're more a part of me than my skin.
She saw them almost as soon as she saw me. "I want you to talk about the words on your arm," she said, and so I did. Happily. (And yes, she can have some of her own someday, with my blessing.)
I told her where the words came from, how Dame Julian loved God so much that she went to live alone so she could talk to Him all the time, and how she wanted to share God with other people, too, and so she wrote. Some of what she wrote, one small part, began to etch itself on my heart the first time I read it. "All shall be well . . . "
Then I told her how T.S. Eliot borrowed the Dame's words and added to their beauty, if that's even possible. And still they called to me.
And then my season of worry, of anxiety and learning how children make me vulnerable and fighting to come to terms with that. This season of knowing, eventually, that I have so much and that I cannot live on the edge it all hangs on. And these words, they remind me . . . remind me to return to myself, to my family and the kids, that I don't need to be afraid and so I can stay here, find gratefulness, and remember my calm.
I wanted them before my eyes, wanted them closer to me than I could get with writing them on paper or putting them in my phone, and so I had them inked under my skin. Already they help me breathe, help me remember and reorient in a way that nothing else has.
She doesn't understand, not yet, but she keeps asking for the story. I tell it, like I tell her the story on my icon and read her Bible stories, because I know understanding will grow as she does. And maybe, with these words etched on my arm and etching themselves on my heart, she will grow up breathing them like she breathes air.