I heard the news this morning that one of my bosses at Milligan died today, and the cause was a self-inflicted gun shot wound. My heart is heavy and sad. I wonder how things could have been that bad, and yet, there have been moments in my life when I've understood how the pain could really be that deep.
His name was Mike Johnson, and he made us laugh, oh did he make us laugh. When I entered his presence, he would bark, "Enkoff" in his scruffy voice. I rarely saw him without a shirt and tie and even a jacket on, and yet, he was really a hillbilly at heart. He was the director of Admissions and I was one of those "callers of prospective students" (you know, the ones you hang up on or lie to and say the student is not at home). He was so encouraging and fun that he made hard work something we looked forward to rather than a chore. He valued all of us, no matter where we had come from, what we looked like, or who we knew. I learned a lot from Mike about how to treat the people you're leading....to build them up, to encourage their gifts, to be excited about their success, to be sensitive to pain and hurt in their lives, to say you're sorry (and mean it!) when you screw up.
The world is different because of Mike Johnson...I am different because of Mike Johnson. Although I haven't talked to him in over 10 years (except for that we had just become facebook friends!!), part of who I am today is because of his influence in my life.
Oh, that we would notice the pain and hurt in the people around us.
Feeling sad and heavy,