Uniquely American

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Jury Duty is such an interesting concept. No where else in the world can you be summoned for this privilege. This is distinctly American.

It seems so fitting for me to be sitting in this over crowded jury waiting room only one week after leaving Haiti. There is nothing more different than where I’ve been in the last seven days. Although, I imagine, there are many in Haiti who would jump at the chance to be sitting in this room with an American passport, waiting for their name to be called to go upstairs and pass judgement on their peers.

The Jackson County Courthouse was built in the 1930’s and not much has changed in this process and setting since. The judge and jury supervisor blame it on the economic downturn we’re currently residing in but I view the smaller women’s restroom that has not been remedied from the time in American history when women were not allowed to serve as a fitting example of lack of legislative process.

The other striking lack of progress is the amount of money we’re going to be compensated today. Maybe it’s my position as an engineer. Maybe it’s my understanding that dish washers at the seafood restaurant under the interstate bridge make more money per hour. Or maybe it’s just the idea that someone can serve our country at war but cannot be excused for jury duty that makes me shutter at the $6 (plus $0.77/mile) I will be making today.

It is also fitting that I remember that a family of 6 can live on $20 per month in Haiti and I am complaining about $6 for the entire day. This is just another example of how God shapes my world so that I can grow and understand. If I had been in this room two weeks ago, I would have been stressed, fabricating a way to get out of this “American Dream” opportunity, and trying to control my bruised ego that says today, I am worth the same as all the people around me. My education does not grant me elevation. My understanding of the world does not get me out of this. My summons to jury duty is a honor. It is an honor not afforded to many. An honor that I should give thanks for. But God is good and just. He shows me Haiti so that I understand the importance of my American life.

So here I am. Sitting. Waiting. Hoping to actually get chosen to serve on a jury. I have tickets on an airplane to Houston for 8am so technically I should be excused. But I don’t like Houston and I don’t particularly want to go there tomorrow. Jury Duty is not something my boss can argue with. And according to Missouri State Law, he also can’t negatively react to or make me take PTO. Maybe this will allow me the opportunity to be a positive influence on someone else’s life. Or maybe God has already turned this exercise towards His purpose by making realize how blessed I am to be a citizen of the United States with the ability to miss work, not get penalized, and serve my country.

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