Permanent reminder of a temporary feeling

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
I saw someone do something really dumb the other day, but it wasn’t my circus and they weren’t my monkeys, so I could not do anything to help other than pray for a decent outcome. The incident reminded me of a line or two in an old Jimmy Buffet song. He sang about “a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling.” How many of us live every day with the results of a temporary feeling or an act that we committed when we were not in the best frame of mind? Perhaps we chose a partner that is not suited to us or to the family we want to create. Just maybe we rushed to take on a position that seemed wonderful at the moment, but we did not consider the ultimate costs to our families, our health, and our lives. In an instance of anger, did we lash out at an individual only to realize later that we were wrong?

My daughter will not like this illustration, but she is funny and she will get over it in time. Late one night after DeAnna had just undergone a heartbreaking divorce, she called and woke me from a sound sleep. I knew she was trying her wings at being a newly single adult and had gone out with some of her friends. I quickly gathered my thoughts and asked what was wrong and if she needed my help.

“No, I am fine, Mama. In fact, we are having fun. Just wanted to check in and to tell you that we all are going to get a tattoo tonight. We have an appointment at midnight at a very nice place. The guy is really good and he knows his art.” Knowing that, as a parent, if I acted unhappy about her decision, that would only serve as fuel for her to get a bigger tattoo and in a place I really would not like. She was a grown woman and could do as she chose. I said goodnight and went back to sleep after quickly whispering a prayer for God to take care of my child and the girls she was with at the time.

Early the next morning, my phone rang again. I answered it and it was DeAnna. She said, “Mama, you don’t have to worry. I did not get the tattoo.” I acted surprised and asked why she changed her mind. She answered thoughtfully, “Well, I started looking around at some of the women in the club and I imagined what they would like look in 20 years with their colorful tattoos.” I then asked what she wanted the tattoo to depict had she gotten it the night before. “Well, I wanted a beautiful palm tree,” she said. “You know how much we all love the water.” That was better than I had hoped for during the night.

“Why did you not get it then?” I asked. My eldest child laughed and said, “Well, I went into the restroom and looked hard in the mirror, and I decided that with the way my body is changing, in ten years that beautiful green palm tree would be a weeping willow.”

We had a good sound laugh and life went on, and we are able to joke about that late night and early morning call now. The illustration is not about getting a tattoo and let me add, I have many dear friends who have beautiful tattoos. It is about doing something in one frame of mind, or making an important life decision that we have to live with forever, when we have not thought it out, prayed it over, and logically considered whether it is wise for us or not.

Many couples and individuals, young and old, are living today with the consequences of a decision made in error. The only thing we or they can do now is ride out the results and learn from the error of our ways.

Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. an old preacher of the past often said, “Never sacrifice the future on the altar of the immediate.” Think, and I would add, pray, before we make a radical decision that changes the coming years for us and for those we love.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or,
[email protected]

[BCH: Nov-28-2023]

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