Before I die…

As I was walking down the sidewalk toward the train; the same sidewalk my feet trample over, run across and even float above at times, on my way to work, I noticed someone had written something in chalk on said sidewalk.  Not only had they taken the time to write the message, which I convinced myself I was too busy to read, they had obviously written the words in one color and then gone over the letters in several other colors.  Once again, I was apparently too busy to read whatever had been written on the sidewalk.  The next week the sidewalk chalk message was gone but a mural had replaced it.

Before I die…

This wall, once covered in illegible graffiti had been painted black with an inviting message stenciled in white.  There were rows and columns of white lines, each one preceded by the phrase Before I die I want to…There were at least 100 open lines for people in my Edgewater neighborhood to share their hopes, dreams, and abbreviated versions of their bucket list.  People clearly flocked to this because not only was every blank space filled, people wrote in the margins, above, and below the stenciled spaces.  The artist’s message said that people often get caught up in the day-to-day and forget what is really important to them.

While I wholeheartedly agree with this statement, I don’t think the fast pace of life and its subsequent and equally paced passing us by is the real message.  The really astounding thing to me is that people who live in the same neighborhood and some who may just be visiting felt compelled to turn their dreams into artwork.  Some people with the same dreams may never meet, never share a cup of coffee or even know that other person exists.  However it is often nice to know that someone dreams the same dream you do.

Some answers included your expected “Change the world” or “Save the planet”.  Others were much more personal like “Cure cancer for my father” and “Be the first in my family to go to college”.  Just by writing their dreams on a wall with a piece of chalk, these authors have given their dreams wings. They will live on long after this mural has been removed and these artists will always know that for a time, someone else wanted to LIVE before he/she died. That to me is profound.

I didn’t write anything because I have so many things I want to do I didn’t think an entirely knew wall would have sufficient space.  Thankfully I can dream forever. Feel free to comment and let me know what you want to do before you die.

JC

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