Utah, Tattoos and Ice Cream


We were driving north through the suburbs of Salt Lake City loaded with Vacation Bible School and craft supplies, planning to meet the rest of our team in Vancouver. The day started early and we still had more miles ahead of us before calling it a day. With the gas tank near empty, Marshall pulled into a gas station. Not a convenience store gas station just a gas station. Across the street from our retro gas station was a small store with a drive through window selling ice cream! It was summer in Utah which equals hot. Ice cream sounded wonderful.

I felt like I had stepped back in time into the little neighborhood grocery store just around the corner from my grandmother’s house. It was a very short walk from Granny’s house to the small store. Granny sent me there often for household items, eggs, milk, bread, that sort of thing. Some afternoons she sent me to fetch us both a soft drink and a chocolate bar!

I wandered around the nostalgic store before heading over to the ice cream counter. A beautiful young woman greeted me. She had a thick golden braid that danced as she tossed her head, crystal blue eyes, and multiple tattoos. The tattoos were very bold and colorful.

When I asked her to sign my quilt she did with great enthusiasm. The enthusiasm quickly left. A stern looking man stepped up to the counter and demanded to know what the young woman was doing! She quickly pushed the signed quilt square toward me as I hurriedly backed away and out the door!

As we do throughout our trip I related the incident to Marshall. As I talked about the beautiful young tattooed woman I became fearful that the stern looking man might do her harm. The longer we drove the more anxiety I felt for her. What if she lost her job? What if he hit her? What if, what if? Marshall turned the car around, I had to make sure she was alright. With determination I entered the small store again. The stern looking man met me at the counter! Before I could find the beautiful young tattooed woman He began to speak, “I need to apologize to you”.

That was not what I was expecting! I am not sure what I was expecting, but not a man begging forgiveness. The stern look was replaced with an anxious smile and extended hand. I thought I was going to save a young woman from some imagined hardship but God sent me back for the stern looking man. He needed forgiveness and grace. I grasped the man’s hand firmly. Apology accepted. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted the young tattooed woman safe and sound. She smiled big and mouthed thank you!

For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it.
Ephesians 2:8-9 GNB
Written by Susan


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