In order to start exercising the writing muscle a bit, I asked my Facebook friends for suggestions for top-5 lists.  You know, prompts to get the brain going.  The eleventh one is from my friend Dee, who asked for…

Top Five Front Desk Conversations with Shannon, RANKED

(a bit of background: the IBC receptionist extraordinaire, Shannon, is very easy to like and chat with…and when I need to take a break I walk to her desk–and usually wind up in 15 minutes worth of conversation, often joined by others on staff.  My routine usually puts me at her desk when Dee’s routine takes her through that same area)

5. Hearing her describe benevolence stories.

My job involves overseeing service to those in our community who call for help, but Shannon usually gets the first phone call or walk-in off the street.  It can be heartbreaking to hear stories of eviction/homelessness, hunger, health problems, etc. That’s not what I’m talking about. It’s the scam artists who are terrible at what they do and come up with the (and I mean THE) most ridiculous stories who get caught in their own lies in about 42 seconds that are hilarious.  And to hear Shannon tell the stories, well, they’re funny because Shannon gets so incredulous and the mixture of disbelief in how dumb the lie is and the offense she takes that they think SHE isn’t smart enough to catch it cracks me up.

4. Anytime I question a commonly accepted evangelical belief.

It’s well known that I live on the fringes of common evangelical thought and the look on her face and five-second pause that comes when I just ask a question, followed by, “Well, I’m going to have to think about that for a while…GREAT.” is priceless.  One example, there was a book that talked about the power of prayer, and I mentioned that should be a short book because there isn’t any.  “But there is power in God who you’re praying to.” But…wait…(pause)…oh, GREAT.”

3. Conversations about movies or shows to start binge watching.

Like any office, we all talk about the movies we’ve each seen or the series we’re binge-watching.  These conversations are taken to the next level when Nathan joins them, because he and I have lived a lot of life together (been on the same staff at two churches now, one of them for 8 years), and we get excited about the shows we’re watching. We even quote them.  But Shannon will start waving her arms and yell “Did you SEE WHAT HAPPENED ON JESSICA JONES IN EPISODE FIVE?!?!?” We get equally excited discussing what went down, which usually involves me and Nathan recommending four other shows, six new movies and four new music artists for her to watch or listen to.

2. Giving her a hard time when it comes to anything suburban.

Shannon lives in the suburbs like the rest of us.  But for some reason, we’ve decided to call her out on any involvement on anything suburban and start asking her questions about how rich she is.  Usually Nathan is involved in these as well.  She starts a simple sentence like, “I had lunch with some friends from The Junior League…” and Nathan and I immediately pounce. “Oh. Junior League. I guess you won’t be needing us as friends anymore.” Or when she showed us photos of their new home (again, we all live in the suburbs), “Hey, that’s nice. Is the butler’s house around back because I don’t see it in the photo.”  Or, “I had to replace the filter in my Brita…”  “OH…Miss Fancy pants with her Grey Poupon and Brita water filters…”

  1. Hearing her story.

Granted, most of the conversations are yucks and grins, but every now and again we chat about our stories of how we’ve been transformed. It’s her story to tell (but you should ask her about it) so I won’t spoil it here, but whenever she talks about where she was against where she is now–even if it’s in an off-handed way–it’s pretty cool to see how God has taken her life from point A to point B and how she’s responded to His grace.