Grace as my Narrative

A story behind a tattoo

Grace as my Narrative

Seven years ago, my feet walked the beaches of the Bay of Bengal. It was as if I was living someone else’s life. A dream for sure. There for business and fun but my mind’s eye was as excited as a child’s who shakes a snow globe over and over again and can’t believe the magic in front of her.

Dust and dirt. Fancy and aching with extreme poverty. The dictomy I saw while feeling like my soul fit right in this foreign place. I didn’t know a soul except fellow expats that were along for the journey. My family was the only one to venture together. A time in my life that I truly see as the best and the worst, a climax of love and pain wrapped into one.

Oh I loved India. The humidity far stickier than what I am used to in Kansas but I didn’t seem to mind. My eyes were too caught up in the colors and the food markets, the noise beyond belief, the children and the faces beaming toward the white people that entered their neighborhood.

We stayed in a hotel. The Novotel, the fanciest place I have ever been. For a few days I knew how royalty must have felt; but I had no interest. I enjoyed watching the children and the street seamstress doing what he needed to make a living. I enjoyed shoe shopping for the kindest of drivers, who stood patiently with a smile, as he waited for Americans to sink their feet in and learned new rules in a land far from our home. Oh India, I loved you. Your dirt. Your colors. I miss the full appreciation of a people who many which have ounces of wealth in comparison to the poor within the United States.

Oh India, I loved your church and the funny feeling of removing my shoes before entering Sunday Mass. The heat of the day, and the richness under my toes as I stood there and sung songs and listened to homilies in garbled yet well spoken words.

Oh India. I miss your excitement, a dream world yet a tough adjustment too far from home.

And in the depths of the highest of beautiful lands, a place I surfed and shook sun dried hands, is also where I met what felt like my own family’s demise.

I will spare the details for rights to privacy. But please know this. An end to a four month fantasy expatriate visit come true, was also mixed with a whirlwind of emotion and a scenario that left me begging for mercy and grace, strength and Heavenly assistance as I knelt on the floor of the shower in our home in India.

Fast forward two years. I had wanted a tattoo since the age of 19. But always knew it had to be something amazing, a narrative of life and love, a definition of me. So I my 35th birthday, in the cleanliest of places, on my upper back, stretching from shoulder blade to shoulder blade, I had written ‘Amazing Grace’ in Telugu, a language I also fell in love with. I learned true love of humanity, loving people when it doesn’t give you what you want and the amazing grace in it all!!!

To the country of my dreams, my skin’s written narrative, thank you for your time and opening yourself to me!


Laura Alyse

Sept. 9, 2020

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Laura Parks
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