Friday, May 9, 2008

Know Hope


"Know hope".
Someone scrawled that on the slide at our local playground. I often contemplate it as my children play, wondering about the writer's intentions. He clearly had faith in something, but was it in the futility of life or the eternal power of hope? Given the generally low literary levels of English graffiti in this Hebrew-speaking country I can only guess that he meant to say "no hope". How ironic then that he, if it was in fact a he, instead preached a message of optimism, encouraging those who read his words to "know hope" rather than to lose it.
To know hope. A strong message, and one we all need at times. Sometimes when the darkness and confusion are rising all we can do is cling to hope, to have faith that all will be for the best, that the solution is there around the next bend and all we need to do is reach for it.
What a knife-edge we walk, veering between hope and despair, just one small letter separating the two. As I strive to walk the path towards hope in my own life I can't help but wonder about the anonymous writer who inspired me. What brought him to write those words. Was he in fact hopeless, or was it just fleeting teenage angst or the need to mark his territory. Was it a commentary on the state of the world or the state of his love life? Alternatively, if he truly did mean "know" hope, what an inspiring statement to scrawl so carelessly. And what does 919 mean? Is it a message or just a graffiti artist's tag? I can't imagine I'll ever know the answers to these questions, or even what anti-social urges possessed him to deface the park in the first place, but whatever his original intentions he's given me much to think about, and for that I am grateful.

13 comments:

Nancy said...

Wow, this really is thought provoking.
I put this post in my shared feeder ... so others may "know hope".

Robin said...

Thank you Nancy, I'm very touched.

Phyllis Sommer said...

robin, what a beautiful post - how wonderful to look at this grafitti as so much more than that -- not just words defacing but an opportunity for inspiration. a good way to start shabbat for me...thank you!

anthonynorth said...

A heartfelt post. What is the difference between hope and despair? I'd say determination.

Anonymous said...

I see the number 919 everywhere I go - license plates, clocks, reciepts, ect. I don't know what it means, but this really gives me a little more to consider. Thanks for that.

marcia said...

I like that accidental encouragement I hope the author got some too- It is a wonderful message for us all

shubd said...

A graffiti that can initiate so much thought !!
Liked your positive viewpoint :)

Shannon said...

Amazing how inspired thought can be aroused by the seemingly insignificant. I love that! Great post.

gautami tripathy said...

Very inspiring post. Thanks for posting this!

keith hillman said...

In order to truly know hope, one needs to leave despair behind(did I really say that? Must be the heat getting to me)

And here's another thought - 919 is 616 upside down. Just thought I'd throw that in.

Just Jen said...

we get profanity on our playground equipment, thats a nicer message :D

Selma said...

I would like to think the graffiti artist meant to write 'know hope.' It is so inspiring. I wonder if he has any idea of the effect his words have had on all of us. So glad you posted this.

Bahama Mama said...

The family motto of my maiden name is "while I breathe, I hope". Thanks for the reminder in such a lovely post.