Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sisters of Serendipity

For Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On my second day of jury duty service we were dismissed around 1:00pm. I went back to the Jury Assembly room and picked up my lunch bag and other personal items. “See you next week” I quipped to a fellow juror named Theresa. As I made my way to the exit however, I stopped. “I want to say good bye to Janice”, I told Theresa. She and I both knew that we would see one another again the following week as we had been chosen to serve at the same trial. Janice, however, had been selected for two different trials which would be held on different days than our own. We would most likely not see Janice again, so a farewell, “Nice to have met you”, was certainly in order. Theresa and I waited for Janice to return to the Jury Assembly room. When she spotted us, Janice broke out into a smile, obviously pleased that we had waited for her before leaving.

The three of us had met only the day before. Having the luck of sitting next to one another at the first jury selection, it quickly became evident that we had the same sense of humor. Although we each expressed our understanding of the seriousness of our role as potential jurors, we took the instructions not to discuss the cases to heart and found other topics of conversation. During the few minutes of down time we’d received several times as the judge had called the attorneys aside, we’d each made the others laugh with silly observations or questions. How nice it’d been to find not only one, but two women like these to help pass the time. Each had been enjoyable and entertaining. We ended up sitting with one another at the remaining jury selections and gabbed during our lunch break too.

On my way home I got to thinking of how good it is for me to have these opportunities to meet new people. It’s not that I don’t meet hundreds of new teenage students and parents each year but meeting people aside from work usually takes a little extra effort. When I was younger, new friends were made easily and regularly at music festivals, theater competitions, and music camps. In college I met new people with every new course I took each semester. As an adult, the performing arts and educational courses continue to aid me socially. Opportunities with community theater and recertification requirements bring me together with like-minded people, those with the same passion for theater, music, reading, writing, or education in general. But the jury duty experience of the past few days was different. One hundred-eighty people, chosen from a pulling of drivers’ licenses, randomly came together to do their civic duty. And yet, within an hour’s time, Theresa, Janice, and I had met and began laughing with one another. Laughing led to the sharing of family stories and although we all knew our paths would most likely never cross again, the serendipity of our two day friendship is something that has enriched me.

The saying goes that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I am blessed with many lifetime friends and I am lucky to have others for seasons of time each year. I don’t know for sure what is the reason I was led to these two women this week, but I have a few ideas on the subject that I’ll keep to myself for now. What I know for sure is that I will long remember Janice’s wit and Theresa’s candor, and the way the two of them reminded me of how wonderful a feeling it is to meet new people, new friends. As I heard somewhere once before, love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant. I’ve learned a few things about myself in the past two days, or rather I have been reminded of some facts about myself that I had forgotten. I’m going to take these lessons and use them in reconnecting with a few dear friends, lifetime friends, who I miss dearly.

Although they will probably never read this, I want to offer up a simple thank you for Theresa and Janice. I expected to have my nose in a book at every available minute of time I found during jury duty service. As it turned out, I was reminded that opening up and simply living in the moment with people who surround me is the best way to make my way through life. As strange as it may be for the writer and teacher in me to say, the books can wait.

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...

Lyrics from the song “For Good” from the Broadway musical, WICKED

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