Greetings from the Hall of Justice!
Yes Wonderlings, I am currently serving—what is becoming an annual tradition—jury duty. I know, some of you may loathe getting that dreaded summons in the mail, but I look forward to it. Don’t get me wrong… I am not a fan of sitting around all day long waiting for someone to call on me so I can get asked questions and then either be selected as a juror or sent back on my merry way to the pit of potential selectees, but I love getting a free paid day out of work. It’s like a grown-up field trip. I even arrived a half hour earlier than I needed to because I was so thrilled I didn’t have to go into the office. Might need to rethink this whole work situation…
But enough about that, today’s post is about judgment.
During today’s orientation, the guest speaker, a local commissioner, identified all of the people serving jury duty as superheroes. She said that because of our showing up to the Hall of Justice, we were acting as fellow judges in the ongoing pursuit of justice and the American Way.
I get the whole jury of your peers thing, but is it ever really a jury of your peers? Every person in this room has a completely different story than every other person here. Some may come from broken homes and believe that love doesn’t exist, some may be born-again Christians who think that the only acceptable way in life is a life with God, others still might be millionaires irritated that their weekly golf game has been postponed. I doubt there are any millionaires here, but you never know. Look at me, judging already and I haven’t even been selected yet.
My point is that each of these people is full of their own internal ideas and predispositions that would lead to his opinion being different than the woman sitting next to him. Our experiences shape our ideas. We are all judgmental; we can’t help it. So when you put twelve people together to decide the fate of one case, you can guarantee there will be fireworks. Heck, when you put two people together with differing opinions, it’s bound to be interesting.
I have always been a little too vocal about my own judgments. I suffer from lack of verbal filter and I frequently speak before I think about how what I say might be taken by others. I’ve gotten better at concealing my opinions when they differ from someone else’s because I learned long ago that people don’t always want to hear what you have to say. There was a time when my friends would stop sharing what was going on in their lives because they feared how I would react.
When I learned that I was being excluded from parties and privileged information, I knew I needed to start putting a lid on my own judgments for risk of losing the relationships I developed with friends. Just because I felt a certain way about something didn’t mean that my friends all had to feel the same way. I was guilty of a judgmental attitude (still am) and it was something I needed to get over (still working on it).
Judgment, whether in court or in reality, can be a difficult pill swallow. Whether you’re the one casting judgment or the one being judged, once issued the ruling cannot be taken back. Sure, opinions can change and appeals made, but you will always be the one who cast the judgment or who was subjected to another person’s conclusion about you. I hope that someday judgment is not so severe and that we can use it as a stepping stone to uncovering the reality of a situation or person. Can we really ever rid ourselves of judgment?
The jury’s still out on that one.