Do you ever wonder why and how things happen as they do? I am a firm believer in the fact that everything happens for a reason. Having said that, however, does not mean that I do not sometimes question still. I believe that I can learn from every circumstance, whether it was one I chose or not. I have learned that I may not know now why something happens but I do know I can trust the One who does.
At the end of December I was called to report for Jury Duty on January 6. I was not worried. After all, every other time I have been called, the trial has been cancelled and I have not even had to show up. I was counting on that being the case this time. I didn't even give my boss much notice because I was sure it really wouldn't effect my work.
So, on Monday, January 5, I called the number they gave me and found out that I did indeed have to show up. I arrived Tuesday morning at 8:45 with about 50 other people. Thankfully, one was a friend from church, so we sat together. Everyone signed in, we were given our $10 and they began the process of choosing a jury. The first step was to narrow this group of 50-60 down to 36. Names were called in what appeared to be a random manner. My friend got called toward the beginning. I sat and listened to the list of names as each chair filled throughout the process. I was breathing a premature sigh of relief when 35 of the 36 chairs were filled. In a matter of minutes I would be free to go back to attend to some pressing deadlines at work that I could help with. The final name was called and to my surprise, it was MINE!
For the next hour they asked the 36 of us a series of questions. We were given a 15 minute break while they chose 12 from that 36. My friend and I talked out in the hallway. Each of us had prayed that we would not be chosen, not because we weren't willing to do our civic duty, but because it was a child molestation case and neither one of us were wanting to hear the details. I joked a bit and told her to look at the odds… 2/3 of us would go home. What are the chances that either one of us would be picked as part of the 12? We were called back into the courtroom. As the names were called, she became Juror #4 and I became Juror #10. We could not believe it! Both of us were now part of a jury in a trial that would consume the next 3 days.
I could not help but think of how close I had come to not even being in the initial 36. With all that was on my plate, it seemed like terrible timing. In hindsight, when is a good time to put our lives and our routines on hold and focus on something completely removed from all of our other responsibilities? It was not convenient for any of the 12 of us. I thought again about those times in our lives when Plan B becomes Plan A. We think we have our hours and days planned out and then life interrupts and demands our attention elsewhere. I try to "go with the flow" and not resent the redirection. Most of the time I succeed.
Then tonight, I ran into a friend who used to teach in the classroom where this now teenage girl first reported some of the things that had been done to her. They had tried for years to get some justice for this girl. My friend wept as she found out that I and our mutual friend had both been on that jury. I still may not understand why it had to be me. We unanimously found the man guilty and it seemed to me, that anyone would have. Though I got behind in my work, was stressed about not meeting my responsibilities and my gameplan for the New Year got off track, I can still rest, knowing that I was supposed to be in Chair #36.
Life happens. We can not plan it all. We can not prepare for it all. Our Plan A's can disappear and be replaced, seemingly without our consent. It has been said that the only thing we can really control, is how we respond to any given situation. With all that I would like to accomplish in 2009, I am now aware that there are things I may need to give my time and attention to that aren't even on my radar at this point in time. In that case, my goal will be to do them faithfully and without complaining, learning what I can along the way.
I am determined to stay encouraged as life's plans take me away from the course I charted. I want to continue to surround myself with wise counsel, good friends and the Ultimate Planner. How about you?
Next week, I will not have a chance to blog, as I will be in San Antonio, Texas for our TAC Escape Leadership Convention. So, until next time, may you be mindful of that which is set before you and be abundantly blessed!