December 05

Monday

 

The Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him. —Isaiah 30:18

 

Why I had picked the first week in December for jury service was a mystery to me. Things were happening at work, my wife Julee was bedridden with the flu, the holidays were just around the corner, and the winter wind was raking lower Manhattan. Yet here I was, stuck in the county courthouse, waiting, waiting.

What if I got put on a case that dragged on all month? What if I didn’t get on a case at all? Already I’d been questioned and peremptorily excused from one panel that was to hear a gun-possession case. A fellow jury pool member nudged me and said, “You lucked out.” Had I? Frankly, I was torn. I was worried about my time, but I also wanted to serve. What was the point of showing up and waiting around day after day if it was for nothing?

I came close to getting on a couple of trials. One was a civil case that was settled at the last minute; another was a criminal proceeding from which, once again, I was inexplicably excused. As soon as I was released from jury service I complained to a lawyer friend. “I sat there all week with a million things to do and didn’t even get to serve on a case! What good is that?”

My friend chuckled. Didn’t I see? Just by participating in jury selection I had played a crucial role in getting a fellow citizen a fair trial, even if I wasn’t chosen, and that was the whole point of our legal system. “You did serve,” he said, giving me a pat on the back.

“You showed up.”

I knew better than to argue with a lawyer.

 

Lord, every day You use me in ways I don’t always understand. Sometimes all I have to do is show up. —Edward Grinnan

 

 

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