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Marks on the Wall

Elderly woman walking down a graffiti filled alleyway in Athens Greece

Early one morning in 2012, as my friend Jimmie and I wandered the still streets of Athens, I noticed an older woman slowly making her way down a heavily graffitied alley. Given the fact that the city is at least 5,000 years old, it’s pretty easy to assume that the buildings she passed had stood her entire life. As I watched, I wondered about the changes she’s seen in that little alleyway. I wondered how many times the walls displayed fresh coats of paint and how many times it was marked by those who wanted others to know.

To me graffiti is interesting as a form of expression. Sometimes, when the artist has little or no experience, the result can be crude and lack aesthetic appeal. But when they gain experience and skill, their results can be inspiring and incredibly beautiful. And always, regardless of the level of skill, the effort is an interesting form of expression of what is on their heart or mind.

Similarly, as time and life make their marks on each of us, the results can be beautiful. Or they may reflect our own or others lack of experience and sophistication. Regardless, when we look back in our older age at the many writings on our walls, I hope we see each mark as a work of art. Art that recounts some step or stumble in our unique path to more elegant and complete expressions of ourselves and our gifts.

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