Les Patterson’s Monday Morning Boost: View from the back seat

Someone took my seat yesterday at church. Okay, I know it’s not really my seat, and they didn’t really take it; they just got there before me. But when I walked in and saw someone else sitting where we normally sit each week – middle section, second pew from the front, far right side – I was caught off guard how out of sync I felt.

There is rhyme to our reason for always sitting in the same location. Elisa is the principal organist for our congregation. It’s helpful to sit where it’s easy for her to get in and out in a timely manner. We’re generally 15-20 minutes early so we usually have our choice of seats.

I realize justification is not really needed of where we sit at church. Understanding why we sit where we do at any type of meeting or gathering with open seating – and discovering what we can observe when we sit somewhere else – is what today’s thought is all about.

We are creatures of habit. We tend to do many things the same way every time. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, living a healthy and happy life often depends on the strength of our daily routines. Though we sometimes have a love/hate relationship with routines, we actually depend on the consistency and comfort they provide.

On the other side of the coin, it’s too easy to let ourselves get locked into boring or unproductive routines. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like all we do is get up, start our day, go to work, come home, go to bed. Repeat.

Daily routine can sometimes cause us to miss some incredible views. I recently heard Tim Brown, partner of the PR/social media firm Richter7, share “10 Secrets to Generate Creative Ideas”
at the USU Partners in Business Leadership Conference. One secret was to simply drive home a different way. That night, after picking up Leslie from dance practice, I took a zigzagging route home with random turns and reversing directions. It didn’t take long for her to question my madness, which led to a fun discussion.

My experience on Sunday momentarily took me out of my comfort zone. To start with, I was already out of routine because I was going to church by myself. Normally church is a family affair. But Elisa was out of town for a mother’s weekend with her mom and sisters. The girls decided at the last minute to attend Spanish church service because “it helps to learn Spanish if you listen to people speak it ya know!”

I was all alone. I got to church just before the service started and saw our seats were taken. As I stood in the doorway looking for a place to sit, I quickly searched for someone I didn’t get to visit with that often. But before I could act on my good intentions, a friend beat me to the punch. After first trying to help me find my family, he quickly invited me to sit with his family when he realized I was alone.

Our normal seat is near the front; they were sitting on the back bench close to the door. From the front, my view is limited to a small percentage of the congregation. Sitting on the back row, literally in the corner, my view was greatly expanded. I saw people as they came in and shook a few hands. I noticed the few kids walking out for bathroom breaks and got a smile from one boy who skipped his way out. I noticed a family struggling to keep a passel of restless kids entertained.

While current responsibilities make sitting near the front somewhat of a necessary routine, I really enjoyed the fresh view from the back seat. I did miss, however, hearing the rich baritone voice that’s normally a few seats behind me.

Have a great Monday!

Les Patterson

p.s. Take 15 minutes today to let musician Jon Foulk inspire you with ideas for enjoying the View from the Backseat.


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