“Never Sit with Your Back to the Door”

Sometimes we need a new perspective, a more expansive vision.

“Never sit with your back to the door.” This quote from Frank Herbert’s Dune tops Google searches about the famous novel. Perhaps that is because so many people prefer situational awareness. They want to know what is going on around them in the room.

I Googled this too. Google’s answer is not surprising. Most people who have the option choose to sit where they can observe a room’s main points of entry.

While visiting Yale Divinity School this week, I ate breakfast on the top floor of the Omni Hotel. The restaurant has spacious windows on three sides to take advantage of the 19th floor view of the city.

Sometimes we need a new perspective, a more expansive vision.

“Is this okay?” she asks
and places the menu on the table
by the seat facing the windows

I almost take the seat
on the other side.


But then I risk eating
maple smoked sausage
and blueberry scones with
my back to the door,
monitoring instead
the vital signs of the city,
heart jumping every time the
waiter appeared at my shoulder
to refill my coffee

while in the distance a
glistening brass weathervane
teeters and spins
atop a church steeple spire
seeking Spirit winds.

Author: Jill Crainshaw

I am a professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity and an ordained PCUSA minister.

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