I recently finished serving Jury Duty. [insert groans and moans]
This is everyone’s reaction when I tell them I’m serving Jury Duty. Nose wrinkled like they just smelled something rotten they say, “Ugh, I’m so sorry. How awful! Did you fry ‘em?”
The whole thing is a grand social experiment and it’s fascinating. Imagine a room full of 200 strangers, all sitting VERY close to one another, all confused, all anxious, all wanting to be somewhere else, all waiting for something to happen. It’s the most interesting phenomenon to witness. Everyone trying to stay busy, on computers, on phones, reading a real-life book with printed pages, sharing previous jury experiences with the person sitting next to them. The crazy thing is, every day we have no idea what is going to happen. You walk in, you find a seat, and you wait until they come to the microphone and start reading off jurors numbers for trials. That’s when it gets exciting!
Every time that mic crackled my heart skipped and I sat up a little straighter. I found myself getting competitive, as I’m prone to do. I wanted to be picked. I wanted to be called up to the big show. Is this what draft day feels like for college athletes? I think jury duty would be way more interesting if they announced our juror numbers and we ran down the aisle to loud music and flashing lights and they gave you a hat. Maybe some glitter, maybe Bob Costas.
Until that happens, we are all waiting, together. For something to happen.
For me, the thing that happened had nothing to do with a courtroom. I never got picked. I showed up every day and no flashing lights for me. No Bob Costas giving me a hat for Courtroom 801. No big dance.
Instead, I showed up every day. I sat in the same area. I got to know a few people and remembered their names…mostly. Brenda was “Carrie” for a minute on Day 2. Jennifer, Al, Brenda, Rhonda, Sherry. Lovely people who also showed up.
This jury duty experience has reminded me that making and keeping commitments is at the foundation of what makes our relationships and society work. Showing up makes all the difference. Even if showing up is all you get, like my jury duty experience. Less dramatic than I wanted, for sure, but even without the theatrics, it was a successful lesson in showing up.