Adventures on Jury Duty

I write about myself because that is what I know best.  My tangle of dreams, fears, longings, curiosities and inspirations are my areas of profound expertise.  But I also write about me so that you can know YOU better.  Each of us is a unique finger print of God… and yet in so many ways, we are ridiculously interchangeable.  So please know that as I unfurl my mind and my heart here on the page, that I am also unfurling YOUR mind and heart on some level.  We are all in this together, my Friends!

But I want to tell you about today, is jury duty.  I stepped into the courthouse schizophrenically split between being entirely open and voracious for the adventure of it and feeling like a crumpled, resistant scrooge.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted to just fling myself unabashedly into the arduous arms of bureaucracy or hop back on my bike and pedal home as fast as I could back to the warm safety of my bed.  It’s a maddening experience, being split like that.  I want to practice engaging in everything I do whole heartedly, single mindedly.  (Starting now, that is…Wink.)

I was surprised by the copious amount of heart and humanity that I felt from so many of the employees in the courthouse.  Especially the woman who was in charge of orienting us jurors.  Over the intercom, she bade us all a cheerful good morning.  Her offering was met with a few flat-lined grunts at best.   She tried again.  I shouted out, “Good MORNING,” as did a bunch of others.  From there, she went on to explain many things that we would need to know.  And she did it with inspiring, authentic engagement and heart.  Remember, she probably spends forty hours a week in that large, fluorescent lit room full of adults who mostly behave like apathetic high school students being “forced” to do something they don’t want to do.  It would be all too easy for her to implode and stagnate and behave like piss flavored coffee.

But instead she stepped in with fresh vibrancy and an inspired commitment to breathing the life back into us.  Just writing about her, I can feel my heart begin to dance.  Even the glossy lipped security woman who greeted me at the door wearing purple latex gloves (who confiscated my metal fork) was kind and genuine.  Upstairs in the courtroom, the same thing.  More people who against all odds had not been beaten into submission by the monotony and soullessness of “the system”.  Passed along through so many caring hands, I found myself able to sink in and enjoy the ride.  I can do this, I thought to myself.

Up in the courtroom they revealed our case.  The state of California against a young man who had shot and killed someone while engaged in “gang activity”.  He was later busted again for possession of a gun.  “Guilty, hands down,” came the unsolicited, immediate verdict from the choir of jurors in my mind.  It was a subtle verdict and I hardly paid attention to it.  Until the defendant was introduced to us and he stood up from his seat, turned around and waved to us.  He was a young black man.  He looked like someone I could have gone to high school with.  Not that he was… He wasn’t.  I’m just saying…

My inner jury sure changed their tone when he shifted from a concept, laden with numerical penal codes to a real live human being with a heart and a soul, waving at me from the front of the room.  My heart stung and my eyes welled up with tears.  From that moment, I knew that I would not make a good juror after all.

They handed out thick questionnaires to each of us in order to perform a preliminary screening.  I had solemnly sworn to tell the truth… and I did.  I felt like such an anomaly as I filled out my form.  I told them that I was not willing to close my heart.  I told them that even if the accused was guilty, that I didn’t believe that he deserved to be punished and locked up.  I said I thought that just exacerbated the less than desirable existing condition.  I told them I preferred the philosophy held in some indigenous cultures, where the entire village took responsibility for the health and well being of each member.  If one committed a “crime”, the village would circle around that person and sing them their song (the song that each mother to be goes out into the solitude of the wilderness and listens for as soon as she discovers she had conceived), reminding that person of the truth and purity of who they are.  Can you imagine me and the whole spectrum of jurors, the judge, the lawyers, even the family of the person who was killed, the bailiff, the court reporter… all singing this young man the song of his soul?

I’m tearing up.  I can imagine.

…Maybe next Wednesday, when I go back (to be officially dismissed, no doubt…) I will stand up and unabashedly loving, sing his soul song… and everyone in the room will be so moved and they will join in!  It will become a healing celebration where we reclaim our true oneness and forgiveness washes us clean and sets us free!  Dream with me, will you?  It’s not that far fetched.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dan
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 21:38:51

    YOU are fucking incredible!!! You are HERE for all of our salvation. I love you!!


  2. Pheeee
    Jul 23, 2010 @ 17:27:33

    Your writings continue to blow me away for your brilliant word smithing. The vulnerability you bring to these words lighten up dark skies. I feel much gratitude for knowing you and having the privilege of reading, daily almost, your thoughts & dreams you chose to share with this universe.
    Rumi shares,
    “I yearn for happiness
    I ask for help
    I want mercy
    Look at me and hear me
    because I am here just for that”

    and you seem to manifest these words via your life, i.e. art, love & intentions. Namaste.


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