Writers’ Ink: “Peace, beaver”

by Emily Dufault

My first, or maybe second, tattoo; I’m not quite sure.

Softly flowing letters, paz, the Spanish word for peace, a little dove adorning its side.

Four years ago, when I first starting dreaming of this particular tattoo, I was living in Central America. My life that year was a jumble of Spanish and English. Given that it’s the language that most deeply speaks to my soul, my spirit language, if you will, of course my tattoo would be in Spanish.

The word itself? No, it isn’t because I have a bachelor’s degree in Peace Studies. Although it is the word that best encapsulates my studies, my faith, and all I hold dear.

Growing up, my siblings and I had a deep affection for C.S. Lewis’s classic The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe. Once, during a high-pressured moment near the end of my undergrad years, I remember my mother repeating the words of Lewis’s Santa: “Peace, beaver.”

It stuck with me, under my skin. Something about someone actually speaking “peace” into my situation gave it new meaning. Jesus left us this example, not simply talking about his gift of peace, but many times actually speaking it to his followers, particularly upon his resurrected return. Peace be with you.

So I took to writing it on my left wrist in black ink. I wrote it on myself for days at a time, a visible reminder.

You see, that year was painful. Although I’m grateful for the experience of living and working abroad and all the learning that goes along with it, that year was beyond difficult. I was pushed past my limits physically, emotionally, spiritually. And I just couldn’t find ways to deal with it all.

So I wrote it on my wrist. Paz. Peace, beaver. Peace be with you. Take a breath; pray for calm, for wisdom, for strength.

I always told myself that when I got a tattoo, I needed to wait, to hold the image, the idea, in my mind for a while. Make sure it will be meaningful, always. That year, it was that word and all its promises that got me through some days.

In the years since, it continues to speak to me. It calms in moments of anxiety. It serves as a reminder of all I stand for, all I hope to be. A humble and loving Christ follower. A person of peace. One who accepts Christ’s gift of peace, and gifts it to others.

Oh, you’d like to see it? Well, the thing is, I don’t actually have it yet.

Mostly it’s just a lack of money, what with paying grad school tuition and all, and perhaps a lack of opportunity. Last summer some friends and I almost went to get tattoos together on a whim. I would have gotten it then. But we didn’t.

Maybe I’m just waiting for someone to sit with me while I get the thing. Someone to whisper gently, “peace, beaver,” as I cringe in anticipation of the needle.

My first, or maybe second, tattoo; I’m not quite sure.


Emily Dufault is a pastor, novice candle maker, and aspiring tattoo-owner. She left Whitworth University in 2010 with bachelor’s degrees in Peace Studies & Cross Cultural Studies, but has since returned for graduate studies in Theology. Currently serving at The Porch in West Central, Spokane, she spends what free time she has walking the Centennial Trail, enjoying the beauty of the Spokane Falls.

Image is from here. 





One thought on “Writers’ Ink: “Peace, beaver”

  1. I love this, Emily.
    Such a good reminder to write truth literally upon you if needed.
    I hope you have the opportunity, money (and courage), to get your tattoo soon.

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