Paint the World a Better Place

It was kind of a bucket list item for me – even though it seems an easy thing to do.

I’d always wanted to be part of a mural painting project. It seemed like a fun thing to be part of, creating something that would beautify and make a statement. Recently an opportunity came up for me to be a part of that. The Church Within, where I spend most of my Sunday mornings, got Chris May, a professional muralist and city planning guru to create and orchestrate the painting of a mural on the northside of their building. They were asking for volunteers.

Me!! Hand shooting up. I’m in!

I was the first to arrive at 9:30 on Saturday morning. The air was still cool from the night temps and it looked like we’d be in the shade most of the morning! The white background had already been painted and Chris was marking off the lines and drawing the characters.

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I got a picture with him before everyone else arrived.

He handed me the bucket of lime green paint and marked off the leaves he wanted that color. I picked out a large and small brush and got busy on the lowest leaf near the ground. Soon, a woman and her young son arrived from the neighborhood to paint. They didn’t attend the church, but found out about the mural from Nextdoor, a neighborhood app that helps neighbors connect with things going on near their home.

For the next few hours, people arrived and joined in the fun.

Standing next to people who are painting a mural, it’s easy to have a conversation with a total stranger or a best friend. The work is a little mindless and takes time. There’s nowhere to go and nothing to distract you from learning about someone’s son who loves to paint or how long someone has lived in the neighborhood…how much it has changed, where they see things going.

In painting a mural, many hands make the work easy. It’s great community building as people join to make a lasting impression in a neighborhood. What I realized is that we’re always creating something as people living together, but what we are creating remains to be seen. What does our future hold as a people? Can we come together more often to create and connect for the good? My advice is to take every opportunity you can.

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