I have served on a jury three different times in my adult life, and been called to be in a pool for a federal case one other. Besides the fact that each time I served, it really screwed up my work and my personal life, I pretty well enjoyed the experience. This time, however, it was Cheri’s turn. As soon as she received the letter, however, her first words were, “I hope not…” it’s not that she disliked the legal system, or didn’t want to do her “civic duty,” but rather, she really for her entire life has worked pretty hard not to render a judgment on another human being, which of course is what sitting on a jury is all about. Last Monday evening after 5:30, while she was busy working on my neck to try to get the cramp out so I could actually move my head side to side, it came time to call in and see if the “team” she had been put on would have to report the next morning at the Cass County Court House.
Of course she did. I have to admit it was kind of a grumpy evening, as she called and left message at work that, sure enough, she would not be at work at least for Tuesday, and then she would have to let them know after that. As much as I wanted to encourage her, with my neck frozen almost solid, I was pretty much focused on myself. I did drive her to the courthouse Tuesday morning for her big trial, and then went back home, and ended up sleeping most of the morning, since I had gotten no sleep the night before, due to a neck that I really wish I could replace at the “you could do better” neck store.
She called at noon, telling me that sure enough, she had been picked, and had to wait until all twelve were selected, and then she would get the schedule. A little after 5pm, I drove back down to the courthouse, picked her up, and we went home. They predicted that the trial could possibly start and be over on Wednesday. No chance. The proceedings themselves went the entire day, and so their task then became to meet on Thursday as a jury and see if they could come to a unanimous agreement as to whether to hang the varmint, or set him free into society.
The whole trial thing consumed a great deal of our lives. First, Cheri missed at this point three whole days of work, which when you are seeing about 18 patients a day ends up being a nightmare for the schedulers. Fortunately, she couldn’t have her cell phone on during the trial, so she missed the dozen or so calls from the clinic, asking if she might be done by noon, or be able to come by 2:30, or whatever. She informed them once again that she would be done when she was done, and there was no use asking her things she didn’t know. A bit of backbone was starting to grow in this one..
Evening meals, and anything else left on the schedule at home just had to be punted or set aside, since she really couldn’t say to the judge, “Well, it’s been nice, and I’ve had such a wonderful time, but I’m sorry to have to leave early, and put you in a bind…” Apparently, he was pretty clear to all of the jurors at the beginning that this was not an optional activity, like finger painting or other craft time. We just had to accept the punt and retrieve her from the legal system when we could.
Of course, the very worst, most terrible part of all of this was that she also was unable to take care of ME… Remember the Sunday morning wake up with my neck and head seized up and in pretty strong pain? Well, I can tell you that it didn’t/hasn’t gotten better all by itself! I – yes me – even went to the urgent care clinic to see if they had a nice large bat that would possibly bring things back into alignment. All I got were some pain meds that were supposed to free the knot up, and allow me once again to shake my head no without grimacing. I have taken the little pill religiously, and the only result has been that for most of the day, I’ve slept, and so haven’t know what the pain was until I woke up again. I wish the same thing could happen at night, but no – I’ve even gone to bed at 9pm, falling right asleep, but only then waking up at 11:15, and then nodding off and waking up in 15 minute cycles. I’ve even had the problem of being awake, and deciding that what I’m going to do is get up, get a drink of water, and perhaps take another pill. I do that, although it seems to take a long time to accomplish such a little thing – and then I wake up, and realize I never got up – I just dreamed that I was doing to do it. Talk about skating on the very edge of being pretty nutso! Over and over again, in 10 or 15 minute segments, I have napped, and then shot awake with a cramp or a twinge of the neck, reminding me that I stuck in a cursed cycle, and getting to wake up about 5 or 6 times before 2:15 in the morning. So, let’s just say that I’m a wee bit tired right now. And I can’t say no, at least with my neck. And Cheri has been able to give me only limited care, which is pretty tough. I know, I know – big baby…
So, now I have been to the chiropractor, who – and it’s always troublesome to hear someone in that position look at an x-ray – and say, “Wow! I’ll be you are in a lot of pain right now!” Duh.
So, our hopes for today is that Cheri will be finished and dispatch her civic responsibilities, and that somehow my neck will miraculously return to normal. You see, I have always tried to explain in different classes I have taught, that hope is far more than just wishful thinking, like “I hope I win the lottery,” or “I hope we will have something other than hotdish for supper tonight..” No, hope carries with it a much greater and deeper power than that. Hope, as I have defined it a number of times, is “The faithful expectation that God is working on our behalf.” One, it arises out of faith – a trust in both the ability and willingness of God to care for us, and our ability to align our desires and wishes with God’s will. It is so much more than rubbing a genie’s lamp, or getting wishes from a birthday cake or coins in a fountain. Hope allows us to rely on God’s creative power, even when it appears there is no way out or through.
We often want quick fixes or magical changes to our world. Instead, when we are able to step back, to take a deep breath, even when our neck hurts, and to recognize that God is working His purpose out, even as we take each breath, the hope arises and encircles our mindset and our own efforts, as we work in cooperation with the One who rules the Universe.
I do hope for the best, because the best is what God creates every day, in each of our lives. I hope that for you as well, and I really hope that your neck doesn’t feel like mine. But it’ll get better, for sure. Peace.
Word for the day: ambisinister. Pronounced am-bee-SIN-ih-ster. Let me say first of all that this is one of the more biased and pretty crummy words you can come up with. The actual definition is “clumsy or unskilled with both hands.” So, let’s look at the origins of this word. From the Latin ambi, meaning “either” and sinister, meaning (no, not evil) “left.” So if you were to be specific, an ambisinister individual, by this definition is someone who is clumsy with both their left hands… Compare that to “ambidextrous” which is Latin really is defined as “able to use either of one’s right hands.” You can see my distaste in this as a pure born, card carrying left-hander. Now, I know there is nothing in creation that will somehow turn the mindset and bias of 90% of the world to respect left-handers, but certainly we could get rid of this word, at least to start, and then work on the word, “sinister” itself. So offer that left hand of friendship, and put your left hand over your heart to say the Pledge of Allegiance…
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.