After nearly 32 years of employment, I was terminated from the Mesabi Daily News as their Circulation Director. Newspapers are in decline. The company that owns our newspaper went into receivership approximately five years ago. The financial groups that have taken on this debt have been trying to make our company saleable, but to date, without success. A year ago last March, I was told my Circulation Director job was being absorbed into a central directorship in Maryland. But for some reason, it was not until this December that the corporation decided to use an opportunity to terminate me, and I was fired on January 9.
Roxanne and I and our family have been greatly blessed throughout our lives together. We have had it pretty easy (though our son David did break his neck a few years back). When I told camp Treasurer Tom Messerly about my termination he said, "Oh, Larry, I’m so sorry. I feel so bad for you." His heartfelt sympathy was a deeply felt balm. "Weep with those who weep," Paul instructs us in Romans.
A dominant theme throughout Scripture is suffering. The Lord Jesus tells us, “In this world you will have tribulations.” The writer of Proverbs says, “A man is born to trouble as sparks fly upward.” Peter admonishes us, “not to be surprised when you are encountered with fiery trials as if something strange were happening to you.”
Paul introduces his second letter to the Corinthians with, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions so we may be able to comfort those who are in affliction with the comfort that we ourselves are comforted.”
Getting terminated by the Mesabi Daily News seemed like an awful long process. For a reason discernible only to our newly hired Human Resources Director, I was dangled out on the high wire for about three weeks. I begin every day in the Scriptures. I would read Psalm 37: Fret not yourself… trust in the Lord and do good. Fret not yourself and refrain from anger. Fret not yourself, it only leads to evil. In just a little while the meek inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.” And my fretting would come to an end…for just a little while; then slowly, waves of anxiety would come over me.
I think I understand that in the whole scheme of things, getting fired at 58 years old is a fairly inconsequential. But I know I understand how best to respond the next time I hear of someone getting fired, or sick, or losing a loved one, or any of a number of the things that are so common to us as humans. I will sincerely say like my good friend Tom, “I’m so sorry. I feel so bad for you.”