Jury Duty

I am sitting in a large room without internet access (unless I want to pay $5 for just an hour — I am far too cheap for that).   I read my paper.  I read someone else’s paper.  I talked to a guy for while who works at Disneyland.  We had a friend in common.  I finished Blue Like Jazz.  There is a lot of truth in it, but the packaging wore on me the more I read it.  I loved how he concluded that everything starts with really believing that you are loved by God.  Not just knowing it, but what Jack Frost call “having a revelation of the Father’s love.”  It must not only touch your mind, but also your emotions, your deep center.  That is the point that the world becomes a wonder to you, rather than a curse.  This when you begin to fall in love with the people that used to annoy you.  Donald Miller gets this.

The “packaging” is both his overly casual and sometime flippant attitude toward sin that will have devastating consequences in people’s lives and his meandering story as one who seems to take forever to grow up, and maybe hasn’t yet still.  But I know that there are areas of my heart that have not grown up either, so I will stop the critique.  I’m sure someone else can do it (and likely has done it) better than me.  Donald Miller will never be confused with C.S. Lewis, but then, he will reach people that Lewis won’t. Praise the Lord for how he uses all of us differently but as part of a giant tapestry to accomplish his will.  He is a funny writer.  I envy this ability.

The lady at the next table has been having a 20-minute conversation with a relative about some drama in her family.  She speaks loudly about personal stuff, defending her mother against some accusation of unfairness, and seeking to psychoanalyze her attackers and assess their motives.  I guess we all do this.   I am doing it to her right now.  It is her loud, somewhat obnoxious manner that interests me, more than the content, which seems common to life in this fallen world.  Her willingness to broadcast details of her personal life in this manner belies an orphan heart.  She wants to be heard.  She wants empathy.  She wants to be justified.  She wants to be right, and for others to know she is right.  Of course, all of us want this.  We all struggle with the orphan heart.  I used to use my students in this same way, and maybe to some extent still do.

The orphan (as I mean it here—I am plagiarizing from Jack Frost) is the one who never quite feels accepted or wanted.  He or she is the one who must scratch and claw to get what they are “entitled” to.   Think of the customer service lady at the counter or on the phone who gets overly defensive the moment you express dissatisfaction with a product or service.  Or think of the family member who cuts off relationship when you bring up something difficult.  Orphan hearts usually refuse to admit they were wrong, because their security is in being right, rather than in God’s love.  (For those who have known me long term, you know I have needed much growth here!  I used to think being “right” was pretty much all that was important.)

Wow, now she is continuing to talk loudly on her phone even though the court person is announcing to us all that we are dismissed and how to turn in our paperwork.  Instead of realizing that this would be an appropriate time to get off the phone, she speaks louder because she is having trouble hearing over the speaker.

Donald Miller wrote about how he used to subtlety reject people like this, thinking they would get the message that they needed to change their behavior.  Then he discovered that if you love them, a couple things happen.  One, you discover the whole person and some of the reasons they behave that way which helps you to have compassion for them.  And two, the security of your love and your acceptance of them helps them to behave differently.  They may become a wonder rather than a curse.

Well, one day of jury duty, sitting in a room, and I am done.  I was never even called to be on a panel.  This is always the way jury duty goes for me.  Never been on a jury.

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