I just an hour ago learnt from his son – an erstwhile orthospherean, as it happens – that one of my early mentors in business died a few years ago. He had long since retired, and we had lost touch.
I find myself horribly grieved at his passage. Yet I rejoice; for, he was overall a most good man, especially to me; so that I harbor high hopes for his everlasting salvation, and for our eventual reunion, should I be so fortunate as to merit the same.
Bill hired me when I had but poor prospects of success (so far as I then knew; I grant that he was then perhaps a better judge of that than I), tolerated my often miserable performance as a salesman, gave me hours of advice, encouragement, stories of the old days and of the origins of our (insurance) business, of radical innovation that has benefited all people on Earth (he was participant in the very beginning of the notion of medical insurance). He was a font. Never of foolishness; no, always of wisdom, and of experience.
Most of all was he humorous about his own failures and mistakes. He recounted them at length, for my edification, and his own deep enjoyment. How he laughed!
His impact upon me was massive. I doubt he knew how great it was. Indeed, I hope he never gave it a second thought, on the way home to his wife of an evening. I hope he took it as just another day’s work.
As indeed such a thing should be, for any man charged with the supervision of younger men.
How grateful am I to my Lord God for my mentor and friend, Bill? Inestimably.
So please grant him, Lord, mercy, for my sake, despite what must be his manifold sins and wickednesses.
I write this now not as some maudlin tearjerker, which would have disgusted Bill as much as such a thing ever disgusts me. No. I write now as a warning and recommendation to all men, who have other men under their supervision. Take care of your men! Seek ever their magnification! Of such, only, ever, is your own worth as a man ever measured by the wider world – as distinct from the narrower, more private world in which your (far, far more important) fatherly duties are measured.
What is good in your men? Glorify it, by God! Bestow honors, and acclamations! Encourage them! God knows, enough is arrayed against them, in this day and age. So, do your bit for them.
They’ll remember you as their captain, forever. I speak from experience.
Thank you, Bill. I hope to see you, again, soon. Then might we both laugh at some of my own failures!