• arianna

The Last Day

My time in Prague went faster than I could have thought possible. On my last day though, I felt energy that I did not even know existed.

A group of us took a tram to Hellachova where we saw the John Lennon wall. Going into it, I honestly had no idea what it was. Later, after a few conversations, it is allegedly the wall where (during the war), students wrote peace offerings and kind words, rebelling against the war by putting graffiti on this wall. Every single day, soldiers would paint over what they had done, yet they would do it again—everyday. When the war was over, people just continued to add to the war. Writing the names of people they loved, leaving their own wishes of peace, and art. There was just so much love, happy and art.

Upon approaching the wall, we were all in awe. As one student placed his hand on the wall, he noticed how thick the wall was with paint. I followed him over and put my hand on the wall, I did not just feel the thickness of paint, but I felt the memories of people who had been there. Every level was a memory, every layer was time that someone took out of their day to paint, write and share something of themselves on the wall. It was intense, and as we stood there with our hands on the wall, hundreds of people were still adding on to the already covered wall.

My roommate and I wandered past the wall to another wall adjacent to it, a man with a guitar stood singing songs of love and peace. Right by him was a bridge and a wall of locks. locks full of promise, a bridge full of people soaking it all in. As we stood there, we saw a couple come over to the wall and add their lock, their own promise, their own memory.

We walked back over to our group where I saw a man was posted up and taking polaroids for only 3 euros. I can’t put a price on memories, and I paid 3 euros for my roommate and I to get a picture, I didn't think the whole group would want to. After seeing the picture, I think something in all of us clicked, and we realized how special it was to be here, to be in the middle of all of this love and hop and energy. We all ended up paying for a Polaroid. We sold the man out of them! The man loved our pictures and vibes so much he gave us one free, and then he asked for a picture with us. It was a short trip that turned into a few hours. And after we all had our pictures, we realized it was our time to write on the wall.

What did we want people to know? What words would mark our presence here? How could we add to a wall already so full of love and peace and hope? Some dedicated their stamp to someone they love. Some commemorated those no longer with us. We all took our time and found our spot on the wall. I dedicated mine to a man I have always looked up to. A man who always sought understanding rather than a fight. A man who led by walking in the front, hand in hand with those he led. From his letter from the Birmingham letter, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote:

"But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love….Was not Amos an extremist for justice…So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love?"

And so somewhere on that wall, you can find my name and the words, “extremist of love”. That is the extremist I have decided to be. I will give love, show love and share love--today and everyday that I live.

Coming to Prague, I knew it was to be a romantic city, but romance is love. And love is not always romantic. Love is hopeful, it is seeing the sunshine from behind the clouds. Love is offering a hand in peace rather than a battle. Coming to this wall made Prague for me. Again, there were an enormous amount of people. It was more than the bridge for me though. Seeing people seeing the love written across the wall, seeing the light in their eyes strengthen as they saw the hope left by others. Seeing the bridge were promises and dreams were locked in place gave me hope. It gave me hope for happiness; it gave me hope that somewhere in the world at that moment, someone was fulfilling their promise of love. I love love. At the wall, I felt like I was going to burst. There was so much love and energy in the air, I was sure I was going to implode. But instead, I soak it all in. I felt love, I have hope, and I felt at peace.

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