“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words….”
Most of us can finish this statement from the popular school yard taunt. However, most of us know the truth. We wear emotional scars from words spoken harshly. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words hurt my heart. Words matter. Words can bring hope or hopelessness. Words can convey compassion or disgust. Words can heal or wound.
In downtown, Eustis, Florida, two chalkboard walls have been constructed to bring words of encouragement into the community. Visitors are invited to pick up a piece of chalk and share their hopes, dreams, and thoughts for the future. The idea began when New Orleans artist Connie Chang painted on an abandoned house, “Before I die, I want to…” Using the quote as a starting point, Chang invited her neighbors to share their thoughts and dreams using chalk. Since the first Wall in 2011, more than 2,000 walls have been built in over 70 countries. It is truly refreshing to hear others use words to encourage and dream together. Right now, Eustis features two walls, one with the phrase, “Before I die..” and another wall with interchangeable text that invites visitors to respond to different questions, which correspond to local events in Eustis. Feel free to visit the wall in person in downtown Eustis or online: http://beforeidiewall.net or https://www.facebook.com/BEFOREIDIEWALLEUSTIS/