I know graffiti is illegal. I can see that it defaces trains, buildings, and many other things. I understand that one side is imposing their views on others, often at great expense. I also know that everyone needs to have a voice. For many, they have no voice that they know of. They have things to say – views, opinions, and complaints. They are frustrated, thinking that nobody can or will hear them. They also need to express themselves. There seems to be something deep within them that is driving them to use any form of expression that appears to work.
Hearing others is, from my experience, always a good thing. You may not want to hear them. At times, what one hears defies understanding. Yet, in every situation something better is possible when one is able to hear the other – especially one party knows another has listened and the others knows that s/he knows.
For a variety of reasons, it is often hard to hear others. I am in a conversation with someone I have never met that started badly. Though it was not intentional, I do not think either party thought the other was hearing. For my part, I am not sure that the other was able to hear that I was listening. For whatever the reason(s), we spend most of the time talking at each other, not to.
As I reflect on options, I realize that the other is communicating on the walls around him. At work, in actions, and even in silence, he is leaving his graffiti for anyone willing to read. I know that it is natural to ignore what one does not like. When “the wicked snub God, their noses stuck high in the air. Their graffiti are scrawled on the walls: ‘Catch us if you can!’ ‘God is dead.’” (Psalm 10.4) I turn away, ignoring what I see and hear. Life keeps reminding me that I am the loser in this process.
A first step is to see art for what it is, not what I want it to be.