I meet Robert Copeland around 10 years ago while he was working at a camp that I was “staffing” at. I don’t think we realized that we would run into each other in college much less become the friends that we are. We have worked together cause the same trouble for our boss, pranks, jokes and snarkyness is what we excel at. We both were in love with music even as the differences grow with the years. We have sung everything from “Red Neck Women” to “Jesus Walks” at the top of our lungs from his truck. We both played in bands growing up and countless ones together in college, but the thing that last is the simple bond that has grown between us. Some of you know what this bond is like, the simple bond of brotherhood. One that allows for brothers to call each other on their crap and push back when it is needed. Robert is now a Youth Minister in a small town and I have never seen him happier in his life. It’s time that you meet Robert.
There are several reasons why a person decides to get a tattoo. Behind these “markings” there are stories. Here’s mine. For most of my life I’ve wanted to get one. Different stages in my life have presented the opportunity, but I was never ready to go through with it. I can remember being in high school, and several of the guys I played football with were getting their numbers tattooed with a homemade tattoo gun. It would be cool because it was a sign of team unity, and everyone was doing it, and it was something I loved. I decided to pass that one. My next opportunity wouldn’t come along to have a homemade tattoo until I did time in the penitentiary…which is what we refer to as a prison tat. Kidding. Anyway, several trends came along that I’m very thankful for passing on, the football number, barb wire, tribal, the Chris Farley tribute picture, and the butterfly on my lower back. No offense to any of you, but they weren’t the right one for me. I always wanted something that I would never regret, and truly reflected the depth of who I am. I often joke about being the deepest simple creature I know, but I wanted whatever I got to reflect that. The closest I ever came to getting one, was to get a tattoo of the cd cover from POD’s “Snuff the Punk” album. It showed an angel with the devil in a headlock. I eventually decided it was just a little too….animated for me. Growing up around the rock scene I went through a short phase where I really wanted a sleeve, and I even thought about getting the flame tattoos that Chester from Linkin Park had. It’s important to know where someone is coming from before you can understand where they’re going.
The tattoo I finally decided on came from my favorite scripture in Romans chapter 6. I wanted to get the entire verse, Romans 6:22, tattooed on my arm, but the artist, Paco @ Electric 13 tattoo studio in Austin, informed me that smaller print tends to run together over time and becomes difficult to read. This wasn’t something I wanted. I wanted something larger and bold, that really stood out. I decided on Hebrew, because it would raise a lot of questions and present opportunities to witness. Even at the tattoo studio, the guys that worked there were asking questions about what it was, and the meaning it had in my life. (I have since found that it raises questions everywhere, which is really good as it opens doors) I found a Hebrew translation for the term “slaves heart” which is exactly what I was trying to say. The verse that I was translating says “Now that you have become set free from sin and have become slaves to God, but the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” The bible talks about how we all make the choice of what we are going to become slaves to. For some, they decide to become slaves to things of this world. This is a choice for all people to make on their own. I, personally, have chosen to serve my father. Just like the slaves of early America, at times I have tried to escape slavery from Him, but always returned because it was all I knew. Slaves ran away to what they felt like was freedom, only to return. The life of a slave was all they knew. They thought that once they set out into the world they would find everything that they were looking for. Sadly, it’s a scary world filled with emptiness, and pain. I’m in no way comparing my life to that of a slave, or even say it’s as rewarding as that of being a slave to our father, but I am saying that I choose to be a slave to Him. I fully give my life in dedication and service to His will. If I may rip off the lyrics of a particular Central Texas band, I’m a free slave. While I have been set free I choose to abide and cling to Him. I want to live out my life according to His plan. I have a heart for being His slave. When you have a heart for something, it’s very much a part of who you are. I’m set apart from those slaves because I love what I do. I love serving in ministry and inspiring and encouraging young minds. I am fulfilled through living out His will for me.
The journey to my first tattoo took nearly 15 years. I always wanted one, I just wasn’t sure what of. I was talking to one of my youth after I got my tattoo and was telling them that a “Christian tattoo” has no more meaning than a cross necklace or t-shirt. It is defined by the meaning that you put behind it, and the way that you live your life. I encourage each of you reading this to find what it is in this life that dictates who you are? What is leading you, and in what are you finding fulfillment? Blessings and good day to you all!!!