I love purple, I thought as I sprayed the next layer of color on what I’d considered “my wall”. After years of expressing moods and coping with circumstances through graffiti, the original stone wall had transformed. It was a tapestry of what life had been for me. Struggling with disappointment yet again, I added to it. This time, however, I sensed something different upon final perusal. It felt heavy to me, my artwork. It seemed overwhelmed by all the changes I’d imposed on it. The art was there, but so was the reason for each stone of my internal wall. Although there were fragments of joy poking through and hints of peace that had lasted for short seasons, the anger, the rebellion, the hurt, and all they meant to me were on display.

My hand, the purple spray can in grip, fell to my side. I stepped back and looked, absorbing the colors and styles, thinking on each event represented. It triggered something in me, provoking tears to flow. They were not tears of anger or hurt though. What was this? Why was it making me emotional? I raised my arm and began spraying in a sweeping motion, trying to push away the uncomfortable sentiment that was threatening. My hand became heavy, and I dropped it to my side once more.

I turned away and moved to enter the house confused by my emotions. Upon reaching the door, I spun around and sat, looking at my wall. Suddenly, I saw something. Within the graffiti of my life, an image was becoming evident. It wasn’t clear, but I swore I could glimpse … Jesus. I blinked unbelieving. I didn’t know Him, but I knew of Him. He was someone who wasn’t there for me during my trials and tragedies. He was the one who I’d heard offered peace but seemed to withhold it from me. I must be bad, I’d figured over time, since He didn’t seem interested in comforting me. Either that or, just as others had, He found joy in punishing me.

Pain is Painted on our Walls

I’d been abused when I was young, been stuck with parents who fought constantly and didn’t care to know that I was being hurt repeatedly. I chose to find comfort in others and by other means. The guilt of that became a heavier burden than the very acts that wounded me. At times I found happiness, even luck on occasion, but most often I felt used and abused. Darkness, as seen in my wall, had been a great part of my life and who I was.

I stared into the eyes of Jesus there on my wall. He stared back, but the look in His eyes wasn’t condemning or wanting of something from me, looks I’d become way too familiar with. His eyes were pulling me in. I felt love. I felt comfortable in my skin. I felt free. The feeling was powerful. I was overwhelmed. Not as my artwork was, more overawed. I felt light, like a weight had lifted. I shook my head and looked again. His image was unmistakable and I was drawn to Him.

“Jesus, why me?” I asked aloud. It was me He wanted. I could tell. The pull was unmistakable. Why me? I was trouble. I was dirty. I was the very definition of unworthy. I was rebellious and discontent. Why me? Suddenly, the view of myself I’d come to resonate with didn’t matter, in fact, it wasn’t even real. In a moment, I was free. The original being God had created was alive, not hindered by the scars I’d clung to and labeled myself with. My internal walls were crumbling.

I looked past the image of Jesus and gazed at all the layers of graffiti I’d created over the years, and it struck me that the original stone wall would look beautiful to see. It would be soothing. However, there wasn’t a fix for the defacing I’d done to it. It’s as if the scars I’d struggled with were just as present on this original artwork that God had made, on me. I went inside and grabbed some other cans of color I had left over and returned to my wall.

After an hour of work I stepped back. The image was no longer hidden amidst the years of trials on display. Jesus was now on top of all of it, covering the graffiti of my life and altering the theme of my wall. His eyes were soft. Love truly flowed through His image, through the tips of His fingers reaching to touch me. The chills which consumed and the tears which cleansed lifted me higher than any drug, drink, or relationship I’d ever hidden in. My wall was no longer necessary. Jesus loves me.

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