December 1, 2023

Father Tracey

Recently, I read an article about how a person goes about choosing their seat on a flight says a lot about their personality. There are usually three choices of seats available in a row — the window, the middle seat and the aisle seat.

The person who chooses the window seat tends to like their own space, live in their own bubble, become more irritable if disturbed. They can exhibit a sense of entitlement, a sense of control.

Such persons can be nesters, making, with the help of the pillow, a comfort-able place to dream and escape. Persons who choose an aisle seat tend to be more sociable; tend not to sleep on a plane and likes the convenience of having ready access to the toilet. Such persons tend to be intro-verts and value being on the periphery of things. They can be found reading a book or working on a business project.

Choosing the middle seat may happen by default. Travel-ling with family especially, the person who is lowest on the totem pole, defaults to the middle seat. Middle seat occupants tend to be a bit disorganized but are a bit more considerate in that they leave seat choices to others travelling with them.

The article brought to mind a recent experience I had. At a family gathering , there were all kinds of conversations going on. I was sitting there, just listening when someone said to me, “You’re very quiet. Is there something wrong? Are you okay?” I shrugged off the comment by saying, “Oh! I was just listening to the conversation. I have spent most of my life as a priest listening to people’s conversations.”

The comment started me thinking. Is there something wrong with being “quiet” at times? Is there an expectation that one has to be always engaging and contributing all the time? Does society tend to glamourize extroverts and shun introverts? Are extraverts always the smarter, the better looking, the more interesting, more desirable as friends? Is there a bias in society against introverts? Are they seen as slow, boring, shy, lazy, stupid and too sensitive?

Does society as a whole value and like to exhibit an extroverted flare for life rather than a reflective? Does American society laud a “show-me” mentality? In Europe, Americans are often seen as loud, constantly talking and have the correct opinion on everything. So, is American society more accepting of the confident extravert rather than the thoughtful introvert?

What about Jesus? Was he an extrovert or an introvert? He was a comfortable home boy for thirty years. Working in the shadows of Joseph; yet, for three years, He kept the crowds spellbound of His preaching, teaching and stories? Still, He often went off to secluded places to pray and reflect.

How about the Prophets of the Old Testament? Were they all confident, self-made, leaders who didn’t court acceptance but embraced the challenged offered them by the Lord? Were not some like Isaiah who was self-conscious and felt he would be laughed at became of his stammer; or, Jeremiah, who, as a teenager, was called to be a prophet and felt no one would listen to him because of his immaturity.

What about Moses and Aaron who led the people out of Egypt? Was Moses not the reluctant one at the burning bush who complained that he wasn’t the right one to go and ask Pharaoh to release the people? Did not the final leadership part of the journey fall on Aaron’s shoulders instead?

I will be travelling to the States soon with my niece. The Airbus plane we are booked on has rows of three seats. Up to now for such trips, I have allowed my niece to have the window seat. There she tucks in her travel pillow, puts on her air pods and listens to some music. Obviously, I will default to the middle seat.
On the second leg of the journey, the window row will be just two seats. Again, I will defer the window seat to her and take the aisle seat myself.

As we play musical seats, it should be an interesting journey.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: