A few years ago, I was "chosen" to be on a jury for the first murder trial in Chicago that allowed cameras in the courtroom.  While I was flattered to be one of the lucky thirteen out of eighty-something people interviewed, it was short-lived.  Each evening, I would text my kids and let them know that I would not be home until after dinner and then go through directions on how to prepare the meal that was planned for that evening.  (This part was actually a blessing in disguise because it showed them that they could make their dinner without me - and probably more important, it showed ME that they could make dinner without me.)  Then I would get to sit in traffic as I drove from the south side of the city to the northern suburbs at the end of the day.

On day five of the trial, which was Friday at 5pm, both sides were finished.  We were told to relinquish all electronic devices, the two alternates were sent home, we were locked in the jury room, and ordered to begin deliberation.  It was up to the eleven of us to decide the fate of a nineteen-year-old old boy.  Four hours later when the judge called us in (since we had not come to complete agreement), he told us that since we had not reached a decision, we would be sequestered until tomorrow morning at 10am.

I completely freaked.  That was my visual.

It was 9pm on a Friday, and my kids had no idea that their mom would not be home that night.  What would they do without me??  Of equal importance, I had a flight out to go visit my friend in prison on Saturday that I was obviously going to miss.  This was crazy.  The judge would not even bite on the single mom card.  He said that he would have the guard call my wasband, and get him to come to my house and stay with the kids.

We were escorted by a few policemen down a secret hallway and into a white mini-bus type of vehicle that took the chosen eleven to our new home for the night.  I could not get out of myself.  The other jurors were way better at handling this than I was.  How would life go on without me?  How was my friend going to survive without my visit the next day?  How was I going to let him know?
 " the humble man, there is no longer any such thing as self-pity" - Richard Rohr

We arrived at the hotel and were put in "jury rooms":  no phones, no reading material of any type, and
no TVs.  We congregated in the dining room and got to choose whatever we wanted to eat off of the "jury menu" (yes, that's what it was called).  Several of the other jurors bonded over drinks, but I was too busy worrying.  We were given mini toiletry bags with a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo.  The guard even went to Walgreens to get contact solution for those who needed it, while the other one roamed the hallway in front of our rooms so that we were constantly supervised (not sure if this was to protect us or keep us from doing anything rash).  My roomie was even cool.

The reason this is coming up now is that I drive past the hotel about once a year and each time, I am reminded of something new.  The first time, I went to thoughts on acceptance and humility; if I knew then what I knew now, that some things we just cannot change and we need to accept them, I could have actually enjoyed myself.  Presence.  Being fully where you are.

It comes from acceptance.
Which comes after humility.
Clearly I needed to grow.
Humility (according to Richard Rohr) is something that can walk happily along the road by which it is lead.  It is a way to rejoice in our ordinariness.  It consists in our being satisfied with what is given to us. 
But this time, I realized that we were sequestered by this judge because he didn't want us to be influenced by any media or people as we thought about the case.  He didn't want us tainted by other's opinions or news - SO THAT WE COULD DO JUSTICE.  Meaning, we cannot do justice when we allow the influences of the world in.  We need to have a clear access point to what God is calling us to do.  Yes, we need to be in the world, but we are here for a purpose, and sometimes (often for me) we need to be reminded of this.  We were fed, given a nice place to sleep and protected for this purpose.  Our needs were met so we did not have to worry about providing for ourselves - Because he had invested a whole week's worth of trial in us.  Sound familiar?

Now it's two years after this event, and I am just now making this connection.  What felt like torture to me was actually safety.  I had no control but it didn't matter because someone greater than me had the control - AND THAT WAS BETTER.  All of my needs were being met.  I was being protected for a purpose.  I was cared for completely because I was very valuable and useful.  This is us.  As God's children, we are protected because He bought us for a great price (1 Cor 6:20) - He has invested so much in us and will meet our every need (Php 4:19).  We have a job to do. Stop worrying (Mt 6:25).  Live life to the full (Jn 10:10) wherever you are and take risks knowing you are held completely.

Do Not Fear,
Do Justice