February 2009


 

 

Michael S. Clark

1972-2009

 

Last night a man who had touched the lives of many passed away. I write today to honor him and his memory.  I first met Mike years ago when he would share my office when he would be in Amman taking a break from Iraq. We would both sit there quietly sharing the space working away. He then moved and became my boss and it was in this time that our relationship evolved from two people sharing an office space to that of two friends. I was lucky to have been a part of his life here in Jordan. He was an amazing boss but more than that he was a wonderful human being.

 

In my years of knowing Mike our relationship shifted as only a relationship with Mike could to a friendship built on trust, respect and understanding. He was a man that loved life and took every opportunity to live it. He was so sensitive to the people around him and the culture that he lived in like no other.

 

I have many fond memories of Mike, I remember the day he tricked me into being a wedding planner by asking me into his office to talk about a project he wanted me to lead and after checking that I have the time and was available he told me he wanted me to help organize the wedding. I was privileged to be part of such an important event in his life.

 

I remember how he would go off on little trips around Jordan on the weekends and how sacred his personal time was. I learned from him that we should work hard but personal and family time is also very important. He loved life and lived it.

 

I remember how caring and thoughtful he was. Before he went to Iraq for a few weeks he left the house fully stocked so that his pregnant wife wouldn’t have to leave the house unless she had to so if you walked into the kitchen the floor was covered with bags and bags of cat litter and shrinks of water.

 

I remember the day Baby H came into the world a day early because she was very assertive like her father. He was so proud and happy. I remember how he held her fondly and with such tender love and care. I remember her baptism as he and Lynne stood proudly carrying H who was well behaved and angelic as she was being baptized.

 

I remember what a magnificent cook he was. He was such a puritan about his ingredients and his recipes … such that anything he made was scrumptious. I especially remember being over there for lunch or dinner and there were three different pies and they were all so good you couldn’t choose which one you wanted more of. I remember hearing about his famous cheesecake but never tasting it because we couldn’t find the right kind of cheese.

 

I remember him being fair, kind, generous, humble, fun, funny, and an all round wonderful human being.  He connected with everyone and has touched so many lives. He left a trail of goodness where ever he went. Everyone remembers him as a friend above anything else. He made a difference.

 

Mike was a good friend, a wonderful husband and a loving and doting father. Mike to me was family. His presence will be sorely missed in this world. We take solace that he is now in a better place. He may not be here in body but he will always be in our memories.

 

Mike you will be missed.

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When the assault on Gaza was taking place something clicked. It wasn’t expected, it wasn’t planned for, and it just happened. It happened here, it happened there, it happened just about everywhere. People were outraged, as they always are, but this outrage manifested itself differently. People did not just sit at home and lament the latest Israeli tantrum. People poured out into the streets and took that outrage into action.

There were demonstrations, there were donation drives, there were organized activities, the blogosphere went crazy. People mobilized themselves and others in a way and with such determination that I had never seen before. But now what?

The energy that was generated was used in very productive and proactive ways at the time but now three weeks after Israel “withdrew” that energy is nowhere to be seen. Activism is not a way of life here. We are not volunteers by nature. Yet this experience has proved we have what it takes to make a difference in each other’s lives and in the lives of those we don’t know. So why cant we keep up the momentum? Why do we only have to react and respond to emergencies? Can we not build this kind of community today and sustain it?

I have a friend who made a comment that sticks with me and is very relevant “why do we have to volunteer for death, cant we work for life?”