Saturday, May 14, 2011

Grain Car Graffiti

"I lost a friend today." These words have been etched in my brain this week. I saw them painted in graffiti on the side of a grain car as I waited for a train to go by. Some of you may argue that graffiti is not art. But according to my definition, it is. Here's my definition of art; an expression, be it music, painting, words or otherwise, that captures a thought or an emotion. As I've pondered and wondered what prompted someone to paint those heart breaking words on to the side of a grain car, I have come to understand that art is also about imagination.

"I lost a friend today" are words that are the ending of a story. A story that I will never know, but I can imagine. I imagine that these words could have been the result of a tragic death. These words also could have been because of a divorce or a relationship breakdown. Or they could have been the result of a misunderstanding that could not be repaired between best friends. My imagination sees many images that play out the scenes that end in the emotional angst of these haunting words, "I lost a friend today." My heart's memory is also awakened to times when I too have lost a friend.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. But five small words create a thousand pictures in my head. So I guess you could say that these five words by themselves may not conjure emotion or imagination but together have a huge impact. There is a message in them. As that train travels throughout the land, that message will be spoken. The loss of a friend is something that we have all experienced to varying degrees throughout our lives. We have all felt the sting of loss. Whether we wrote a song about it, or spray painted words on the side of a train car, sharing our pain, or whether forever in our hearts and minds there is a tattoo  with that person's name on it, we remember. We remember laughing. We remember sharing secrets. We remember love. We remember long talks. We remember dreaming together. We remember the day that it ended and we grieve, maybe to this day, about a friendship that has been lost.

Tell a friend today what they mean to you. Maybe it means that you have to repair and mend a friendship that is broken. Do what it takes to fix it. True friends are rare....

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