Thursday, February 24, 2011

Now That It's Over.....

Some random thoughts following my stint on jury duty, in no particular order of importance:

Serving on the jury was actually very interesting. Not sure if enjoyed would be exactly the right word, but now it’s all said and done I’m glad I had this opportunity to serve my community in this way. If you had asked me if I’d be saying such a thing back in December when I received the summons, that would have been a big, fat, “No.”

I’m really thankful that I made a new friend as a result of this opportunity/duty. I went out of my comfort zone and asked my neighbor, who I had met briefly but had not yet gotten to know super well but who has a daughter in the same preschool class as my daughter, if she might be able to help out and watch my girl one day each week for the past two months after I learned the judge would not excuse me for lack of childcare options for my 4-year-old. My friend graciously said she could do all the days I had scheduled, and I’ve gotten to know her better and it’s really nice to have a friend up the street. May I be as willing to be a friend as she was to me.

Drinking strong coffee to stay awake in the afternoon after many hours in a long, long day and hearing lots of frustrating cases causes me to have that crazy undefined anxiety in my stomach and mind later in the evening when I finally get home and try to unwind.

I just realized I have a new-found respect for what my husband does every day in working hard all day and then coming home and engaging with the family. I only had one long day a week with jury duty and I found it so hard to shut off that part of my brain when I got home and be worth anything to my family that evening.

One of the hardest things for a blogger to do is to not talk or blog about some things that are a major part of two months of her life because she’s been sworn to secrecy “for all time.”

If you ever want to know what your community is really like, serve on jury duty. It’s quite eye-opening.

If you are thinking about doing something illegal while in a car, make sure you have working lights/headlights/etc.

On the other hand, disregard that....if you are doing something illegal in a car, I personally hope you ARE caught and have to see your day in court. In other words, don’t do illegal things.

Many criminals are not very smart.

There are some very, very, very depraved people in this world. And there are some very lost people who make unwise choices or have unwise choices made for them by people who have influence over them before they even have the maturity to learn anything different. But what I have perpetually reminded myself is that it is only by God’s grace that I am not walking the same road. Jury duty has helped me to be more aware of the need to pray for my community and to be a lighthouse who will pray for my neighbors.

I live a very, very sheltered life.

I am thankful, so very, very, very, very thankful for my sheltered, ordinary, ‘boring’ life. There are some things much worse than sheltered and ordinary and ‘boring.’

Though my children looked at me like I was a little off my rocker, I came home one evening, looked them straight in the eyes and told them that if any friend of theirs ever got involved with, talked favorably about, even hinted around about flirting around with, or talked about being friends with someone else who used meth or some other illegal drug....that person is not a friend. Period. No questions asked, do not pass Go, you are no longer friends, flee, flee, flee. Both boys told me they didn’t even know what meth is, but yes, ma’am, after I told them a little about what I’d learned. I am not naive enough to think that they do not need the reminder over and over again repeatedly, either.

I now feel really uncomfortable having Sudafed in the house, even though the doctor prescribed it for my sinus troubles.

Methamphetamine is a huge problem. Huge. And heartbreaking.

Paperwork done right and well is important.

Some people really like to hear themselves talk.

I’ve never liked ‘group projects.’ Jury duty is sort of like a really important ‘group project.’ Thankfully, most days we had a good group that gelled well together. I actually felt a little sad saying good-bye to the others today, and I think I may miss seeing them each week. But only a little.

I would not make a very good lawyer. Too complicated, too many things to remember at once, too many messy situations to sort out and try to apply the law to, too much stress over long periods of time. It was all I could do to be the secretary and keep up with the testimony enough to take legible notes for the case file and deal with this stuff one day a week.

Being quite certain someone committed a crime and being able to prove it are two different things.

Often there is a whole lot more to a story than what may eventually become public knowledge. I will remember and apply that next time I become opinionated about the barest part of any story (not just regarding criminal things, but any news story) and the editorializing that follows that I read in the paper or see on the news.

I don’t really like not getting a lunch break until 2 PM and then not finishing for the day until 7PM and then having to drive home in the low visibility that comes from a winter rain storm that is beginning to turn to snow later in the evening.

If you want to avoid certain people engaging in illegal behaviors, don’t be driving around in the middle of the night.

People who do the kinds of things that get their names known to a grand jury often run with other people who do the same.

It’s heartbreaking how many people go right back to criminal behavior once they are out of jail.

It is really good advice to avoid all appearance of evil. It is wise and it is biblical, and it is one of the best ways to avoid having to ever have your name listed on some future grand jury’s list of cases for their day.

It’s also wise and biblical to choose your friends wisely. Walk with people who are doing bad things, you’ll get tarnished and burned or even sucked into the vortex of their activity eventually. Walk circumspectly and avoid keeping evil doers as close associates and you’ll be much less likely to fall into that trap.

To me, hearing Jesus’ name being used as a curse word is as disgusting and disturbing as the reprehensible behavior we were exposed to that brought forth the blasphemy from a peer in the room. Arguably even more so.

I am burdened to pray for quite a few of the individuals whose cases crossed our path these past two months. I may never know the end results in their lives, but I’m praying for them nonetheless.

Whether people want to admit it or not, we do all have a sense of right and wrong. We know, whether or not we act on that knowledge, that there are things that are just wrong. This is one great argument for a benevolent Creator, in fact the Creator who is the great I AM, the only wise God, and it is what Romans 1 tells us. We are stamped with His law and made in His image, no matter how diligently we sin to deny that law and to tarnish that image. He is Lord and one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Pray for the grace to believe, repent and bow now.

A couple of cases in particular may haunt me for a while. That’s all I can say about it except that I am praying that the truth, whatever it really is, will out in the end, and I am certainly praying for the individuals involved.

I pray I will be a lighthouse in the midst of the darkness that is our culture. I pray for a boldness I have not often enough exercised to speak the word without fear.

1 comment:

Laura said...

I'm incredibly sheltered too, and grateful for it every time my husband comes home to share a little of what he encounters in his job dealing with those very- much-less-sheltered. I was saved at a young age so I don't have a dramatic then/now testimony, but I do have evidence of God's amazing grace in protecting me from what might have been. Thank you for taking the time to share all you learned in your weeks of public service!