How would you answer the call to serve? I recently had the opportunity to answer that question for myself, when I was called to report to jury duty. Oh, I’ve been called before. Actually, I have been called many times over the years. However, I have never been selected to serve. I’ve never even made it close enough to be interviewed as a possible juror. Who in their right mind would ever pick me as a juror? I have a look on my face that screams “GUILTY!”
I simply can’t help it. My face is an open book, and the pages read “GUILTY!” So, I wasn’t too concerned when I received the summons to report for jury duty early in January. I just rolled my eyes, marked my calendar, and resolved myself that a Monday morning would be wasted. I don’t see clients on Mondays, so it wouldn’t impact my business. It would, however, keep my from going to ballet class that morning, but I supposed I could deal with that.
Imagine my dismay when I received another summons to report for jury duty in February, just 4 weeks after I had to report for County Court. This time the summons was for Federal Court, and it was for an entire month! How in the world was I going to manage that? I’m self-employed. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. Even worse, I received the summons on Christmas Eve.
I texted my attorney. I asked her how they could do this to me, and if it was legal to require a citizen to report to jury service twice in 4 weeks. Her advice was to appeal (so to speak) to County Court, as they might take pity on me. Then she advised me to buy a lottery ticket.
I was in full-blown panic mode. Although I was certain I wouldn’t be picked as a juror, there was no way I could manage my business and take care of my clients while I was at the beck and call of the Federal government for 4 weeks. It would ruin my business.
Much to my dismay, I was picked to serve on a jury for a trial that was scheduled to last 3 weeks. As I raised my right hand to take the oath, I was so nervous and upset I was afraid I would throw up, pass out, or wet my pants. I also realized that I was being asked to do something that was so much bigger than myself, and my petty concerns. This was going to be an incredible sacrifice, not only for me, but for the 13 strangers standing along side me.
I didn’t know how I was going to get through the next 3 weeks. But I did know that there were millions of Americans over the years who sacrificed a lot more than 3 weeks in service to our country. It helped me put things into perspective, and made me almost honored, and most definitely humbled, to serve. The next 3 weeks proved to be one heck of a rollercoaster ride.
And when it was all over, I was proud of myself, my fellow jurors, and the judicial system that each and everyone of us are a part of, whether we want to be or not. That’s how I answered the call to serve. God Bless America!