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Preferred Seating

August 6, 2012

Every morning at my  house, rain or shine, summer or winter, the boys get up obscenely early, get dressed and come to the kitchen for breakfast. And then the competition begins.

I want the vent!

They howl, they push, they shove and vie for the astonishingly simple privilege of sitting on the vent.

The air vent in the floor that is just under one of our kitchen chairs.

This rite began years ago, when a smaller Scooby would curl up in his chair with his oatmeal and maple syrup, on a cold morning, cocooned in Green Blankie, and toast himself thoroughly as the heater blasted out the vent.

Little brother soon caught on that there was something desirable to be had on that precious seat and thus began the competition for preferred seating at the kitchen table.

Rain or shine, summer or winter, they wrestle for the privilege of sitting on the vent. It became such a source of strife that Gabe devised a system of odd and even days and marked the calendar so that the boys can easily check to see whose turn it is, on the vent.

But here’s the thing…nine months out of the year, nothing comes out of that vent. The AC never kicks on in the morning, little as we use it, and we only need a heater a few months out of the year.

Yet they fight and they compete and they vie for the privilege of preferred seating when there is really nothing so special about that seat most days.

Like striving for a goal you thought you wanted, only to discover it held none of the promise you had hoped.

Or searching for and finding the perfect parking space only to find it’s not such a perfect fit after all.

The empty impulse purchase. The seat at the board-room table.

The things that seem so glossy, so special, so elusive that we fight and claw until we have them for our own, only to realize…there was nothing there at all.

I’m not going to Jesus-juke you and start quoting scripture on the first being last, but I do find it fascinating, this morning ritual at my house, and how it parallels so much of our adult lives.

I’ll have what he’s having. I don’t know what it is, or why he likes it, but it must be good, and therefore, I want it. 

Have you seen this phenom in your own life?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Bethany Hall Fitelson permalink
    August 6, 2012 9:09 am

    Ooh, great parable. Even as adults we always seem to want what other people have, even if we didn’t know it existed five minutes ago. Is that why celebrity sponsorship works so well in advertising? What a great lesson about fighting for something that really isn’t worth fighting for, but we’d rather have the worthless thing than watch someone else walk away with it. There are many spiritual applications there, but I love your use of the term Jesus Juke!

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