Yesterday afternoon, I stepped out of the 3rd marathon meeting of the day to take what I assumed would be a brief personal phone call.
Have you had one of those? Where the “Hey, what’s up?” is quickly followed with “What the hell are you talking about?” It was an amazingly difficult 20 minutes that sent me from getting a breath of fresh air to hiding behind a closed door, struggling to contain my emotions and keep my voice level. I failed at both of those things.
There was a follow up conversation later in the day, one that was longer, even more painful, and during which I threw in the towel on containing my emotions and put all my effort into remaining rational and logical. After an hour and a half, I had a raging headache, my eyes were swollen from sobbing, and my exhaustion and feeling of failure was absolute.
This morning, my eyes were still puffy, my head was still raging, but another day of marathon meetings was not to be denied. Off to work I went.
I’m not in this office every day. Usually 3-5 days a month, and those days are pretty packed. Not much time for roaming the halls and expanding my circle.
This morning, a woman I barely knew stuck her head in my door and said, “Hey, I’m not sure you remember me? I’m Cheryl from Operations, we met at the anniversary party last year.” I actually didn’t remember Cheryl at all, but I recognized the face, and said “Yeah, yeah, yeah, how are you? What’s up?”
And she totally ruined my well practiced composure for the entire day.
“God, you’re going to think I’m so nosy, and I’m not, and I’m not a weirdo, but I ….. can I close the door?” She didn’t wait for an answer. “I walked past here yesterday heading to Modifiers, and I did NOT mean to eavesdrop, but I heard you on the phone with someone…..”
Oh, Lordy. I just looked at her. I didn’t know what to say.
“….and it just stopped me dead in my tracks. I don’t know who you were talking to, but I want you to know that my best friend said almost those exact same words to me 5 years ago. I stopped in the hall and just listened, and that was so crappy of me to do, but I couldn’t NOT listen. I’m so sorry. I just want you to know that I hope it works out. When my friend gave me that verbal punch….I don’t know what would have happened if she hadn’t done that. They’re probably angry at you, but just hang in there. It’s so hard, sometimes, and you just can’t see the forest for the trees, ya know? Sometimes we just need to hear reality. I just wanted to tell you that, because I could tell you were really torn up. I’m sorry if you think I’m crazy.”
With that, I mumbled some apology about losing my composure in the office, and thanked her for stopping by, and tried unsuccessfully to not tear up, and she went on her way.
And that, my friends, is when I realized that sometimes angels wear lanyards and lab coats, and just show up to let you know that it’s all ok.
Thanks for stopping by, Cheryl.