By Laura Kempf
I could go on and on about how good the stories and lessons are. I could drum up insights and takeaways to try and inspire you to go to Amazon and push the “buy” button. All the hot topics are in the book. Vulnerability. Empathy. Self-awareness. Mindfulness. And what’s better? I don’t tell you what you should do. Instead, I take you on my journey and share what I went through and learned. Vulnerability at its best.
But there is something more I can do. I could show you and leave you with something. A gift from me to you. If you like that gift, likely you’ll want to buy the book.
This is what “Inspiring Bold” has done for me. It’s allowed me to take a moment like this, flip it and make a connection with something else. Instead of thinking “what is in it for me”, I think, “what do I have to give?” It just so happens that I had written an article awhile back. Sometimes when I write, I have some that are special, meaning I want to find a special place for it to get published instead of just posting on my regular blog.
So, I am going to give you a nice, feel good short story. I need to warn you. It is about jury duty but if a story on jury duty can inspire you, then you’ll get a good idea of what’s behind “Inspiring Bold”. Enjoy!
Jury Duty. Like most people, I cringed when I got the letter in the mail. I had never been summoned in my lifetime but now found myself having to visit the 35th District Court of State of Michigan in Plymouth, MI. In fact, it wasn’t until then that I made the connection that the restaurant nearby was likely named “the Courthouse Grill Restaurant” because of its proximity to the District Court, and a likely lunch destination for those chosen for jury duty.
The security personnel at the Courthouse were very polite but also just as intense as an international airport. No phones allowed which left me to my normal vices: observe and write. But what to write about? About that time, Judge Michael J. Gerou entered the room of those awaiting jury duty. His casual demeanor didn’t alert me to the fact that he was the judge. I only learned that when he started to describe the court and brief instructions about the trial.
Judge Gerou began with an overview of the legal systems and where the 35th District Court fit. He went on to describe additional programs the Court promotes, such as those assisting youth who have landed in the Court due a driving under influence charge. Such programs didn’t just process youthful offenders through the legal system but focused on rebuilding their lives to make better decisions and improve the community. The judge was particularly proud that the programs were funded by the Court’s budget (self-sustaining) and did not rely on state funding.
I was fascinated with the discussion. Granted it had probably been some time since I last remembered such a discussion on the framework of the US Judicial branch, let alone what it was doing in my community, but it was just interesting to see it in action. Moreover, here was someone passionate about what they were doing in life. Judge Gerou didn’t have to greet us that morning but he took that extra step and time because he loves what he does.
I looked around the room. About half of participants in the room were missing it. Thinking about themselves. Where they had to be? What they were missing? Anything but the moment at hand. That moment in the 35th District Court in Plymouth, MI.
And then the Judge mentioned something extra. For those lucky enough to be selected on jury duty, he would be more than happy to provide a quick tour after the trial wrapped up. Interesting and again, someone that just loves what they are doing.
Shortly after that, we were moved to the next staging area. I had just started jotting notes when one of the fellow potential jurors asked if I was a writer. I humbly replied “yes”. And she asked if I could help her niece with writing and publishing. I gave her my name and number and said I could share what I have learned so far.
I realized at that moment that Judge Gerou and I had something in common. We both had passions: law and writing. And we both liked to share that passion. That moment reminded me why I do so many things I do, and it came in the mostly unlikely circumstances: jury duty.
Every moment is an opportunity to learn. To meet someone. To make a difference in someone’s life. Even the moment that brings us to jury duty. Are you making the most of your moments?
“Inspiring Bold” is about changing so you can seize the most from every moment. Thank you for reading this story and I hope you enjoy the book too!