January 31, 2013

how to make someone feel like a doormat.

I was in a pretty good mood when I walked into the office. The answering machine was full of messages and there was a mug of coffee calling my name -- I was ready to roll into the workday with enthusiasm.

Then I heard your message. There was nothing rude about it -- you simply had a question to ask, and requested that we call back. But there was something in your tone -- an inhibited kind of sarcasm -- that made me leave phoning you back until the very last item on my callback list. I had a history of your account up on the screen and files laid out in front of me like a row of defense weapons, ready to respond in case of enemy fire.

I'll bet you didn't think a desk job could be so wild.

I was wary when I dialled your number, and it turns out that my gut instinct was more in tune with reality than I ever thought possible.

Maybe you had a bad morning. Maybe your kids were driving you crazy. Maybe your wife was nagging you. But whatever was going on, the ear of the receptionist at your local chiropractor's office was apparently the most convenient place to let loose your fury of rage.

I get that you didn't like how much the bill was for. No one likes having to pay bills, especially when they're more than we expect. But screaming at the girl who does the invoicing won't change the fact that your family received services and as a result, must pay for those services.

You should know that you've set a personal record for me. I'm a person who avoids conflict like the plague, and as such have never experienced being called so many different things in the span of a ten minute verbal tirade before. Yeah, you kept it PG, but there's still something demeaning about being called idiotic, quacky, insane, and a thief -- and so much more that I really can't even remember.

You didn't really want to talk to me. You didn't really have any questions. You just wanted to throw a tantrum and make sure that I knew that you were severely unhappy. I wanted to hang up on you. Thinking back, I probably should have. No one should have to be forced to listen to what you said to me. And let's be honest, you were far beyond the point of being rude.

You probably didn't know that you had wrecked my day. You probably didn't know that when you finally hung up on me, it took all I had to not collapse into a pathetic mess of frustrated and ashamed tears. You probably didn't know that I spent the rest of the day trying desperately to hold onto the shadows of personal dignity that I still somehow possessed; searching wildly for an ounce of confidence that you hadn't completely stolen from me. You probably didn't know that you had that much power over somebody you'd never met before.

I didn't think anyone did, either.

Being a receptionist requires some seriously thick skin. I didn't know that when I started, but I'm getting there. I'm getting better at letting things bounce right off me, at moving along and forgetting the scalding looks I get. Now that I'm almost a year into the receptionist gig, I have a great deal more respect for those people who sit behind the counter, telling you where to go and what to do.

Next time you step up to a desk behind which sits a receptionist, ask them a question. Give them a smile. They'll appreciate it. There's a pile of charts that have to be filed, a long list of angry people to call, jumbled accounts that need major spring cleaning, and fingers full of paper cuts that need some serious love and care.

Be nice to your receptionists. They're just doing their jobs. 

January 11, 2013

where have all the men gone?

My husband and I really like our church here in Michigan. Excellent worship, community, preaching... and a nice breakfast for college kids every Sunday morning before the service. I'm not a college student, but I still manage to sneak in for a meal. If we keep up with the latest slang people don't notice that we're actually five years older than everyone else at the table.

Our city is packed with universities and colleges -- particularly Christian ones. There are thousands of young Christian students in this city from across the country with dozens of church options to choose from. Our church really likes students, and they try and make it easier to come by providing transportation from a nearby college campus, offering free meals and rides back home, etc. Basically, all you have to do is get up in the morning and someone will make sure you get to church and get fed -- spiritually and otherwise. Every Sunday there are several rows filled with college students who really change the dynamic of our church community -- we think it's pretty cool.

But here's the strange thing -- about 80% of those college kids are female.

We haven't done any in-depth research or asked around if this is a trend in all the churches in the area, so it could be that there's a church a few blocks away that's packed with a bunch of college guys, but for some reason we find that highly unlikely. So -- where have all the men gone?

It's a challenge for Wayne and I not to be hard on the nameless guys who don't show up. Our church makes it painfully easy to come to church. You don't even have to walk anywhere or figure out a bus schedule. There's free cinnamon rolls!!! Honestly. Not to mention the fact that there's dozens of beautiful Christian college girls sitting around the table. Buddy, you'd have zero competition.

Okay, okay, I get it, the point of going to church is not to find a spouse. But let's be honest, that's definitely one of the perks of getting involved in a fantastic Christian community if getting married is on your bucket list.

I don't really know where I'm going with this post, other than that I'm confused by the lack of young men at church when I know that the nearby college campus is almost a 50/50 split of guys and girls. Basically: College guys, quit playing video games at a decent hour so that you can get up on time and get yourself to church. Man up a little.

That's all.

January 06, 2013


The title of this particular post is Greek. I know this because my husband studies Greek... but mostly because I looked it up on Wikipedia. It means Epiphany!

January the sixth (twelve days after Christmas) is traditionally the day that Christians celebrate the feast day of Epiphany... except that we don't actually really celebrate it all that much. In fact, it didn't even come up in church this morning (although this may be because it's more of a tradition within the Anglican and Greek Orthodox churches). From what I've seen and read, there's a variety of practices and traditions done today (e.g. half-dressed men jumping into cold lakes), depending on the denomination, but in general, today's feast celebrates the manifestation of God through human flesh in His Son, Jesus Christ. That's feast-worthy, in my opinion.

"No priest, no theologian stood at the cradle in Bethlehem. And yet, all Christian theology has its origin in the wonder of all wonders that God became a man. Alongside the brilliance of holy night there burns the fire of the unfathomable mystery of Christian theology."
                                - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, quoted in Eric Metaxas' Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (pg 472)

 That's a good word for it -- unfathomable. That God would become a man and humble Himself to cover our sin and shame when we don't deserve it at all -- unfathomable.

We're going to celebrate our freedom in Christ today by eating pizza and Sabbathing. Yay!