The Back Row

I walked into church last Sunday and was early, which my all my friends would say is an act of God and it was pretty apropos since I was headed to a place of worship.  As I walked in, I was headed to my usual seat in the back row but saw that the entire back row was full.  Yes, plenty of seats all over but the back row was as full as me leaving a buffet.

For a moment, I thought about leaving and then realized how amazingly dumb that is.  I meandered over to a another section and sat in the row before the back row.  The sermon was great but I was still miffed that the back row, my row, was full before I got a chance to grab a spot.

As I sat in my car after, I was hit with the question of, why do we all sit in the back row?  Why?  I had a million answers come through my head, but no solutions.

I started with myself and asked why given the situation, I always sit in the back row.  I honestly couldn’t answer that.  Insecurity?  I am the last person to be insecure.  Wait, maybe I am. Was that the reason I was mad I didn’t get a seat?  Was I afraid someone would stare at the back of my head?  Lord, this is all so silly.

The back row.

Not just in church, but we do it in buses and in schools and in meetings.  I sat in the back row in a meeting not too long ago and was asked, “Why are you sitting there?”  I replied, “Just a habit.”

I do envy those who walk in and sit right in front and have no problem with it.  I love that confidence.  Someone said why should I be nervous or worried since I have been on T.V. for more than twenty years.  That, my friends, is a very good question of which I cannot answer.

I have asked a few other people why they sit in the back row and their answers ranged from I don’t want people staring at me, to, I don’t want to get called on and when it is over, I am the first one out the door.  Fantastic excuses that we all use.

I tried to remember when it started and I cant.  Has to be in school.  Has to be.  Last row in the classroom so the teacher won’t notice me and make me speak.  And, we can get into all sorts of things in the back row that he or she won’t see.

Again, this is all so silly but for some reason it really bothered me why I was upset that the back row was full.  And why sitting one row up really irked me.  This has to be a metaphor for something deep within us but I can’t figure that out.  Perhaps that is what gets me the most is that yet I do not know why.

Last year, I had the pleasure of hosting a concert for Pablo Cruise.  There was a decent crowd on hand and before I went up, the stage manager asked me to tell everyone to move as close to the stage as possible.  I got on the mic and said, “Hey great show we have for you but before the band comes out, how about everyone move up close to the stage.  We have plenty of room up here.”  You get one guess to how many people picked up their chair and moved.  If you picked zero, you would be correct.

Again, I am left with why.  Why is the back row our default?  Is it our insecurities?  It is.  Wait, didn’t we already discuss this?  We don’t want to sit in the back row of a plane so why is that any different?

Now, to fight this inner back row demon, I have started to move up when I go somewhere.  It may be the row in front, but some progress is better than none.

The back row.  The great mystery of our life.

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