Jury duty. It strikes fear into the hearts of many. Sitting for jury duty selection – even more fear and loathing. Time lost from work, loss of pay, and long boring hours listening to tedious testimonies. But when I originally received my summons I thought, “Wow. That might be fun. After all – I’m a writer! I might get something useful out of it!” (Hence this blog post…)
So as the day approached, I had a really good attitude about the whole thing. I felt like I was above the fear.
Then I got sick.
I’ve been battling intestinal issues for about three weeks now and when the day finally came for my jury duty selection, I wasn’t really feeling up to it. Plus, I realized my schedule was quite full – how would I ever know what to juggle if I was picked for a trial? But I resolved that it was my duty (the name’s in the title after all) to serve in the judicial process, so I got up early, found the courthouse, got my parking pass and arrived on time to sit in the wooden pews along with about 100 hundred other ordinary folks awaiting the judge to divide us into 12-person juries.
But the judge never showed.
Turns out he was sick too. But the day had to proceed, so after MANY hours of reorganization (in a freezing cold courtroom)(thank God I took my Kindle), we finally got down to the first selection.
And I was picked.
“Great!” I thought, “I can go home now and it’s only Noon!”
Not so fast, rookie. Turns out you have to stay all day, wait out all the cases they need jurors for and you might even be picked for more than one. I was not impressed.
Eventually, the day came to an end and I was not picked again (after a close call). During my down time, whilst trying to stay warm, I came up with the following things I could be thankful for during this time.
- I’m thankful I can serve. It means I have the right to vote. Back before the mid 1800’s women did not have that right. In addition, many people in other countries live in dictatorships or places that do not allow voting for elected officials. It’s an extreme privilege that I can serve on a jury because it means so much more than just casting my judgement on someone.
- I’m thankful for our judicial system. Granted, I felt like the system worked VERY slowly during this process, but I also noticed how many people it took to organize a trial. Lawyers, judges, clerks, stenographers, police officers, district attorneys and public defenders to name a few. So many people working hard for the rights of people and trying to keep people like me safe.
- Thankful that the process is pretty pain-free. Yes, I had to wait a long time. Yes, the room was cold. BUT – the parking was cheap and close-by, everyone involved was friendly and knew what they were doing (not their first rodeo), there was decent food close-by for lunch, and I even met a really nice woman who helped pass the time by chatting with me. Plus, I remembered to bring my notebook so I could write down things for this post!
- Thankful I was on this side. Let’s face it – being a juror is better than being the defendant. It could be MUCH worse.
- Thankful I wore warm clothes. I saw one guy in shorts. I would have frozen to death. I did have two layers on and heavy socks. I’ll still need more when I go to serve next Wednesday, but at least I had worn enough to avoid frostbite.
Overall, it was a decent experience and I’m looking forward to the actual trial (even though it means rearranging my schedule and busting my hump to get my to-do list done sooner.) Also, I’m thankful that God has given me this new-found spirit of thankfulness. It took me over 40 years, but I’m almost there.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thes. 5:16-18