One of my favorite things about New York City (from a long list of favorite things!) is the graffitied messages one finds popping up in unexpected places. I have many pictures of these communications, including the stenciling outside of Madison Square Garden on election day that said, “This Ghost Town Votes” to a recent sighting in the shiny shopping center of the Meatpacking district that said, “Too Many Humans, Not Enuf Souls.” There are even a couple of buildings in my neighborhood that have my name tagged on the exterior: Anna! With a big exclamation mark.
I’m always curious about these messages. Who writes them? Why are they choosing this particular form of expression? And what about the people who read them? Or don’t? I’m sure that for every time I’ve stopped, read, contemplated and photographed a street sign, there are many more I have missed—just walking by, not paying attention. Invitations may be found in everything, holy energy discoverable in all attempts to reach out. When we notice the offerings around us, whether they are anonymous or not, we connect beyond ourselves (or at least get an opportunity to be curious about what such connection might look like).
The picture above was taken on a side street in Midtown between 7th and 8th Avenues. The words, placed on a boarded-up storefront, were clearly intentional and intentionally placed. The emptiness of the former business gives way to the flowers planted just outside. Was the message descriptive or aspirational? Maybe some of both. It reminded me of Irenaeus’ statement that “the glory of God is humanity fully alive” (italics mine). Once we locate the joy in God’s abundance, what does our fabulous opera sound like? How does it captivate the senses? How does it soar?
With gratitude for the Great Work in each of us.