A lot of us who are in a position where self-promotion is part of our business’s success find ourselves highlighting the greatest fruits of our labors—those that get the most recognition and accolades—what many in the world of graphics call the “WOW!” piece. But there are often projects that one rarely speaks of until something comes along and reminds what a special place that small and/or almost forgotten piece may have held in time.
Last month, as many of us here in the States were celebrating the great eclipse, which I also celebrated with great excitement, a beautiful soul crossed over into realms many of us have yet to see. The notorious Reverend Bill Barnes took his last breaths just as the moon began to pass in front of the sun. While I didn’t know him extremely well, his mark upon my hometown is beyond my comprehension. He was a tireless advocate for the poor and those who are hardest hit by circumstances that can break the spirit and will to remain in the light.
I met Rev. Barnes through his daughter, Amy, who has been dear friend for decades. While I had seen and heard glimmers and whispers of what a special man her father is/was, little did I know the scope of the legacy he would leave on this earth or the breadth of his acts of kindness. I may never know. All I can say is when he came to me in need of a book cover design, he was gracious and kind every step of the way and I always felt lifted up in his presence. He had a great impression on many who encountered him.
That cover design project took little of my time but I was so grateful to have been involved in the telling of his life’s great work. To Love a City, may not be a New York Times best seller but it tells of his great love for the people and places of our community. He personified the premise that even small acts of kindness can change the word. All of his small acts added up to a rather large life of humble generosity. What a gift to have been even a small part of this cog (what Rev. Barnes referred to as a Child of God) of life and inspiration. He showed many of us the best ways we could truly open our hearts and “love a city” by loving all of its citizens.