I came in outside from the blowing snow, stomping in a decidedly un-professional manner. The small clumps of frozen water stuck to the bottom of my boots had almost nothing to do with my actions -- I was frustrated. It'd been that type of week. My wife had traveled home after thanksgiving and I'd stayed behind to work Thursday through Sunday for the military, and I was exhausted. And angry.
An accumulation of the last few weeks' small disagreements, some pretty rough extended family relationship struggles and a few sleepless nights from not feeling well had all piled on during my cold walk to the office.
The cheery greeting by "Happy" as we all called her was harshly ignored and I moved quickly down the hallway.
Now was not the time.
I like to think I can play poker, that I can paste on an expressionless face, but in all reality... not so much. Today like most other days, my countenance yelled status updates about how I was feeling at everyone who looked up and saw me. As I slammed my bag down and took out my ID to put in the computer and wait for it to turn on, one of the officers I work with stepped quietly in to my cubicle and stood, waiting.
I watched as of course, the friggin computer wouldn't turn on. Three times I hit the power button and waited patiently with no response. An odd number of times. There was absolutely no reason it shouldn't have turned on, even if it was just suspended -- whatever. I sat down, turned around and noticed her for the first time.
"Everything alright?" The mother of four, she was a sea of calm and concern.
"The damn computer won't turn on. We're the Department of Defense and here I am sitting at a PC that uses XP and takes eight minutes to boot up."
She ignored my outburst and said simply "I wasn't asking about the computer. Are you alright? Do you want to talk about it?"
It was startlingly direct, caring and shone a bright light on my insanely unprofessional and inappropriate attitude for work.
I felt my fingers, nose, cheeks and heart begin to defrost a little.
"I guess. It's just been one of those weeks you know. I've been apart from my wife over a month in days already and we've only been married six months. It seems like that won't ever change and I always, always feel like my duty weekend comes at the worst time. Always."
The computer screen blinked blue, then presented me with an option to log on. I chose to.
Captain Miazga waited until I had finished and swung my chair back around to face her again.
"I've been married for a long time, and I've been in the military for 13 years now. That won't ever change. You'll get through it, just hang in there."
The last of the frozen snow on the side of my boot fell off, and I heard people around the office talking on their phones and with each other. Someone stepped in, excused themselves, and pulled a stack of sheets from the printer I hadn't even heard working next to me.
"Thank you Captain, I appreciate you making sure I was fine."
"No problem, many people have done the same for me."
She stood and left me to go back to setting up the nurse's schedule for the weekend, and I opened up my email.
Outside, the wind was howling and swirling as much as before. A cold front had descended from Canada earlier that morning and brought with it the cool air from the adjacent Rockies. But inside what little snow there was left had just finished melting into the carpet.
Proverbs 15:1 "A soft answer turns away wrath"
James 3:17 "The wisdom from above is first pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere."