Monday, February 25, 2008

Bryan, Michelle &

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
-- Hebrews 12:6-7 KJV
* * * * *
Last week, I called Bryan Preston to tell him about an upcoming news opportunity and was surprised to hear that he was leaving Hot Air to take a job with Laura Ingram, as Michelle Malkin announced Sunday. (Junkyard Blog reacts here.)

Bryan and I got to be pretty good buddies back in the summer of 2006, and he sometimes answered the phone at odd hours when I'd call to vent my spleen or pass along a tip. Bryan was kind of a night owl like me. I had a 70-mile commute from Hagerstown to Washington and would often use the time to talk news and politics on the cell phone. When you're commuting 15 hours a week, it's best to try to get some work done while you're driving, and Bryan was one of the guys I'd call most often.

"Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue," I'd often say when things got stressful at The Washington Times, quoting the famous line spoken by Lloyd Bridges in "Airplane."

Like Bridges' character, Steve McCroskey, sometimes we do or say crazy things when our jobs become stressful. To anyone who takes pride in his work, it always seems irrational and unjust when you're working as hard as you can and still not getting the kind of results you want. Sometimes (and I've experienced this myself several times) you get chewed out for taking the initiative and trying to do the best for your company.

When you find yourself in one of those career cul-de-sacs, when it seems like you're living some absurdist nightmare scripted by Ionesco or Sartre, it is small comfort to remember that God is sovereign, that there are no accidents, and that God's will for your life is being worked out for you, if only you'll be patient.

Perhaps godless people have an easier time in such situations, since without God there can be no duty, and without duty there can be no honor. Bryan is an honorable man and a sincere Christian, and when things weren't working out for him at, it was hard for him to talk to me about it. He could not betray the trust conveyed to him. For the longest time, Bryan bit his tongue and didn't let on that there was "a disturbance in The Force," a phrase from "Star Wars" I like to use to describe such situations.

I learned of the disturbance in The Force for Bryan accidentally -- because I learned from another source about a seemingly inexplicable decision where a non-answer was, in a sense, an answer. So since last fall, I've been very sympathetic to Bryan's predicament, which was so similar to what I faced at The Washington Times before I resigned in January.

Something I learned from my experience, and something I think Bryan also sees, is that we need to learn to face difficult circumstances with calm confidence. I am a poor excuse for a Christian, but I have faith in the power of prayer, and when things were bleak for me at The Washington Times, I always knew that this was a job my wife and I had prayed I'd get. If it wasn't going right, there had to be a reason.

After many hours of enforced meditation on this theme, I came to two important conclusions:
  • Any apparent conflict between one's self-interest and one's honor is only apparent. It is never in one's interest to act dishonorably.
  • If things aren't going right for you and you can't find anyone else to blame, try looking in the mirror and saying to yourself: "It is all my fault."
Well, it seems there has been a happy ending for Bryan -- a win-win where he goes out smiling, without burning any bridges, and can now find a new employee who better fits what they need for their company.

When Christians get chastised, we need to learn to be grateful for the lesson, and not complain.

No comments:

Post a Comment