All my years of regular voting caught up with me this week. I had managed to successfully avoid being called for more than 12 years here in Chicago. But a month ago, I received a summons for jury duty and thusly reported bright and early for at the Fifth Municipal District Courthouse this week. I'll be honest, I had mixed feelings about jury duty. On one hand, I was curious to see our much beloved democracy in action—you know 12 relatively impartial citizens joined together to do justice and all. But on the other hand, the idea of sitting in a room with strangers waiting to be called to inflict judgment on your fellow man was disheartening. So I hedged my bets. To prepare, I re-watched the Thirty Rock episodes when Tina Fey's character, Liz Lemon, wears her Princess Leia suit and side buns in order to be excused from jury duty on the assumed grounds of mental unfitness. And I Netflixed Twelve Angry Men, the story of how one earnest juror is able to convince his cohorts to be impartial and truly examine the facts of a murder trial ultimately leading to the defendant being aquitted. Talk about extremes, huh? On the morning of my duty I stood outside the courthouse and waited for my turn to be screened by the metal detector. I was then directed to a quiet room where I would await my fate with the other potential jurors. I took a seat and waited, soaking up the air of anticipation and dread which was filling the room. Oprah played on the teeny TV. An hour went by as I quasi-listened to my iPod. Then another. Then another. By the time lunchtime had arrived, my then three hour wait felt like double that. An hour later, I was back in the little room waiting...........again. There is nothing worse for me than waiting. I am not the most patient person. (See previous post). By the grace of God, at 3:00 p.m. the convener of the almost jurors announced we were free to go. Freedom! A sigh of relief and joy swept the room. Although it was rather uneventful, I didn’t emerge from this process empty handed. My brief brush with our judicial system left me with two very important reflections—justice can be a slow and tedious process AND it's worth it to live in this every so great country of ours. Maybe next time, I won't even bring the side buns :)

Many blessings,