Last month I had to go to jury duty.
I was scared.
Not of the duty itself but of having a panic attack IN the duty waiting area in front of a bunch of strangers, or maybe while going through the metal detector. (Previous post on post-stroke anxiety attacks here).
Those thoughts chased me for six months through three postponements.
The week leading up to jury duty I prayed very hard and specifically, “God, please do not make me have to go to the jury duty. Please do not let them call me in. In fact, please let my name be lost, wiped out entirely from the system.”
I was in the zone with my requests.
On Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, each time I placed my evening call to the automated system, I felt an extreme sense of calm – like I just knew I would not be called to report on those days.
Then Wednesday arrived. The landlord’s realtor called to say she wanted to show my place on Thursday. First thought: oh crap, I’m about to be called to jury duty. Next thought: I see what you’re doing here God, using my dislike for the realtor to make me actually WANT to go to jury duty. Thanks for the heads up prior to the evening call because you know I would have fallen and cracked my head open when the robotic lady voice told me I had to appear. Sure enough, I placed the call and was told to report on Thursday morning.
Armed with iPad, phone, books and essential oils (wind beneath my wings), I headed out the door. Instructions said not to bring water because I would be passing through airport-like security screening. Oh well I guess they’ll have to douse me themselves when I hit the floor, I thought.
By the time I found parking I was late. And sweaty. The lady parking next to me also looked like a perspiring deer in the headlights. As it turned out, she too was there for the jury duty enabling me to make it to the jury room on my own two feet rather than rolled in on a gurney. By mid-morning my name had not been called on any of the cases and the room was still more than half full. Feeling ballsy I decided to read the daily devotional on my phone. It went something like this:
When you are placed in a situation you don’t want to be in, rather than railing against it look for what God is trying to teach you.
There was something else about not resenting people who drive you up the wall, but all I could think was, OH HELL TO THE NO I am about to get put on a case. What if I faint? Who will look after Benjamin Franklin if I get sequestered? Where are those oils again?
Sure enough, 15 minutes prior to being dismissed for the day my name was the first one called for an actual trial. Off I trekked, covered in frankincense, to the courtroom where we sat quietly as the judge went on and on about his many years of service. Please stop rambling and get to the point, I thought. Don’t resent the person, I thought. When he got around to describing the case it was all I could do not to laugh out loud.
It was a landlord/tenant dispute with undertones mirroring my current situation.
I could feel the grin spread across my face. There was no way I was getting selected for that jury.
It wasn’t long before I was in the juror box *Dateline moment* then swiftly dismissed from the juror box and sent packing, oils and all.
What was God teaching me? Trust. Patience. Faith.
And that panic attacks are not the boss of me. I guess what I’m saying is, it won’t always be a big BANG (stroke) when He needs to get my (or your) attention.
For me, daily encounters like this are what it is to be in close relationship with God. It’s an honest and open dialogue; taking time to pay attention and slow down to hear/see what He is saying. Even on the days and weeks when I’m not the best listener, it’s going back and looking for where God was working. Because He is always working, I think.
I feel like God has been saying, “Look for Me in the little things.” Sure enough, I’m finding Him there.