He was called “Bobby.” He walked this earth with gusto and loved well. So well that when he died in 2013, those he left behind wove pink ribbon and silk flowers into a chain link fence around a vacant lot on North Clybourn Ave. in Chicago.
Today, wild vines weave in and out among the ribbons, their brown, crinkled winter leaves mingling with tattered and faded silk flowers. Bobby’s likeness printed on a white plastic sign is also faded, but he is laughing out loud with wind blown hair.
I encountered Bobby’s memorial on the streets of Chicago because I got off the train and walked. To walk is to be connected to the earth. To be able to meet the eyes of others. To see what cannot be seen from a car, train or plane. To walk is to be open to intimate encounter.
And I lingered at Bobby’s memorial for awhile because it spoke to me of life, death and the choices each of us must make about the one life we have to live. To walk is also a way of being in the world. We say “walk the walk” to call ourselves and others to an authentic life, a life of being true to self and Creator and “do[ing] all such good works as thou hast prepared for us to walk in” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 339).