I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo for a few years now and yesterday was the day it happened. This small and simple tattoo (see picture above) sums up my life to this point and I hope to eloquently express the meaning below in this blog. I hope that you’ll stick around to the end (for the quote behind the tattoo) and thank you in advance for reading.

Before I continue on, let me just thank my friend Molly for designing the perfect piece for me and Paloma for tattooing it.

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When I was 10 years old I was diagnosed with Best Disease – a rare genetic condition that results in progressive loss of central eyesight. For the past 17 years I’ve experienced sporadic losses of sight, seasons of struggle and a constant underlying current of uncertainty. My experience with sight loss has ebbed and flowed and brought dark seasons.

It’s been said that hindsight is 20/20 and looking back, I can now see it was the darkest season of my life that marked the beginning of the best change I could ever imagine, so I’ll start there. For me, the first year of graduate school (2016-2017) was the hardest and darkest year of my life. On the outside, it must have looked like I had it all together but on the inside, I was falling apart. I would wake up every morning and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t change how I felt. There were times where things felt hopeless and over time, I began to lose faith in the God I grew up with. I’ve written about this in different language before (read in detail here) so I’ll keep this next part short.

During this dark season of life I stopped chasing God and started chasing a girl. I felt so bad that I couldn’t imagine God cared about me. However, over time I realized that even though I had stopped chasing Him, He never stopped chasing me.

“God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.”

Charles Spurgeon

Fast forward four years and the girl from the last paragraph is my wife and God has never been more real. Looking back I can now see with clear eyes that everything in my life, especially the hard stuff, was leading me to where I needed to be, teaching me what I needed to know and molding me into who I needed to be. What I’ve lost in sight, I’ve gained in vision and while I sometimes still feel helpless, I never feel hopeless because I know that everything is happening for me.

The sprout tattooed on the inside of my left wrist represents the faith that I hold in a bigger plan; that in every dark place I’ve been planted, not buried. It’s a reminder, to me and to others, that perspective is everything and that in order to grow above ground, seeds need to go underground. It’s a sign that surrender is powerful and life is bigger than me.

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This blog and this tattoo are not me telling you how to feel but rather, me sharing an important part of who I am. With that being said, I want to thank you for your time and attention. Let me leave you with the quote that inspired the ink…

“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted.”

Christine Caine

Be planted.

Joe Rinaldi

IG: @joarinaldi

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