Saturday, June 1, 2013

Reflections: Jury Duty

(From Friday, May 31, 2013)


I am handwriting this post with a freshly sharpened No. 2 pencil in a spiral notebook instead of typing it on my laptop because I must meet my civic responsibilities.

That’s right: I have jury duty.

Image Courtesy of jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

Sleepiness and hunger aside—I didn't have time for Second Breakfast—my inclusion in this sacred process aptly caps my week. For on different occasions and for various reasons, I have found myself in two seemingly polarized positions.

Judge.

Defendant.

To be clear, I am not involved in any litigation at present… though I have half a mind to sue Ms. Shonda Rhimes for slaying me with that Scandal-lous season finale two weeks ago then leaving me hanging on the edge of summer with no new episodes until September.

Surely there exists a law against such cruelty.
But I have been presented with unsolicited anecdotes about a loved one’s foolish conduct and the unforeseen consequences she might soon pay.

I have also been subjected to hostile gestures and speculation from strangers, their spiteful glares like so many pinpricks against my face.

And though the circumstances are unrelated, this dichotomy is especially ironic considering the person whose crimes were brought before me served as an accomplice to my silent assault.

What a difference two days makes, hmm?

In each case, I am entitled to several justifiable reactions. In the former, I would be right to join the chorus of condemnation, to provide additional testimony and evidence to support the guilty verdict. In the latter, I have grounds to defend myself, to denounce the charges and prove my innocence beyond a reasonable doubt.

But having experienced both extremes in so short a time, the right response is clear:

I must live in the balance of mercy and grace, the twin powers of all successful relationships.


When my opinion is sought about someone else’s transgressions and attitude, I need to be merciful, slow to judgment and sparse in superfluous opinion.

When falsely convicted without the benefit of a trial, I need to be gracious, repudiating their venom without losing my peace.

And in so doing, I am sure to be on the side of right, no matter the case.

So should I be selected to serve on a jury today, I will do so with pride and temperance, remembering the humanity of all involved and how it feels to sit outside the box.

And I will try not to growl at Ms. Rhimes when she shows up in my Facebook Feed.

Enjoy your weekend! 

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