n. the quality of being thankful; to show appreciation for and to return kindness
A few years ago I was on a jury.
It was a big muckety-muck case that involved a serious crime and the trial was a long one. In a million years I didn't think I would be chosen. I was one of 300 prospective jurors to show up, wait for the day, only to be sent home to come back the next day. That repeated itself for three days. I kept thinking that each day I would get word that the jury had been chosen and I was free to go, but that never quite happened. On day three, I finally got my audience with the judge, the prosecuting attorneys and the defense team, for which there were six lawyers. Their collective job, as I climbed into the witness stand, was to determine if I would be an adequate juror for the case. I didn't know it at that moment, but I was potential juror number 296 out of the 300. A few minutes of questioning, and suddenly I was juror number 12. The trial would begin the next day.
All of that considered, you might be surprised to learn that this week`s word is gratitude.
While I was nervous to begin what would turn out to be a three month trial that would require the jury to be sequestered for six nights before we reached a verdict, it is an experience I wouldn't have missed. And, yes. I am grateful for it.
I learned much about our judicial system, and I felt like I was contributing to a greater good. But gratitude doesn't have to be that big. It can be quite small.
Let me tell you, there are many, many hours of downtime when you are part of a jury. Moments in between the hours we spent in the courtroom were spent in the jury room with 11 other people who were fabulous, quirky, kind, and never dull. Over the course of the three months, we went many places in our conversations. We discussed everything from world peace to hangnail remedies to meatloaf recipes. We argued the fate of organic farming, discussed 'them Jays' and spoke about all the places we had travelled in the world, all the time playing hundreds of rounds of the game, Bananagram. (Hearing someone yell “peel” remains a trigger moment for me, not going to lie.)
One day, our conversation turned to gratitude. We decided to go around the table and regale each other on what we were most grateful for.
Of course we said all of the usual things – family, health, love and freedom (we were a jury after all.) When it came to be my turn, I said that I was grateful for our accessibility to food in this country. And I am. I think we are one of the luckiest nations in the world for our ability to walk into a grocery store and buy fresh produce that is healthy, clean and – mostly – affordable.
I wish I had stopped there.
“I get more jazzed by the produce department in a grocery store than I do in a jewellry store; in fact sometimes it makes me emotional.”
From that fateful moment on, and for the remainder of the trial, I became known as the woman who cries at lettuce.
Ha. I've been called worse.
Gratitude. What are you grateful for?