This is another tale I heard in my time in government service. Setting: a small town with an office of an agency. Event: an assistant head of the agency, I’ll call him X, is making a tour of offices. The head of the small town office, I’ll call him Y, is notified by X’s office in DC to pick up X at the train station. Y has family emergency and can’t make it but makes other arrangements to have X picked up or maybe just gets word to X that Y can’t make it and to take a taxi to his hotel, which Y had arranged as instructed.
Fast forward 10 or 15 years. Y is now assistant in charge of a major, much, much larger field office.
Fast forward another 10 years. Agency undergoes reorganization which involves creation of new regional offices; offices with many new supergrade positions to be filled. Next setting: conference room where agency headquarters officials are going over the list of new regional positions to be filled and selecting persons to be promoted into them. Y’s name comes up. People speak in his favor. X listens quietly to the praises of Y being sung by his backers. Then X speaks: something to this effect. “I don’t care if Y is a good man or a bad man. He didn’t pick me up at the train station in [name of small town]. I don’t want to hear any more about him.” End of discussion. Y finishes his career as the assistant head of the field office. No supergrade regional job for him.
Dear Lord, may we all be spared being subject to the long term nursing of petty grievances. And may we also be spared from harboring them ourselves.
Ron Hicks, Parish Verger, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Washington DC, 14-January-2014.