January was looking pleasantly empty BUT… suddenly I’m on a Grand Jury for the month. Hum now: this is my 4th call. They waited 45 years to get me… The first 2 times I was wading in little kids. Last time, Richard had just had a stroke. This time, I actually made it in to the courthouse. The clerk looked right at me and drew my number out of the lotto barrel!

There are 7 of us. It’s really quite pleasant: the bailiff is a chirpy ol’ dear named Hazel, replete with doilies and coffeepots. All the police who come in to testify are light and jolly, and in their work admit to a surprising degree of reliance on intuition. The lawyers are pretty slick: it is our job to determine whether there is enough damning evidence to merit bringing a case to trial, and they have everything all packaged up tidily, no loose ends, cut and dried. Hard to avoid feeling like a rubber stamp.

I doubt they’d’ve let me on a regular jury– one of the basic tenets of my church is, ‘Redemption comes from forgiveness, not retaliation’.

We never get to see the defendant, only the victim and any witnesses. Or lab papers proving test results…

The fact that someone’s life path is at stake hardly appears. I told the Saturday Mkt Manager that now I was on a grand jury I felt like a sledge hammer… she pointed out I was more nearly like the flipper in a pinball machine.

Yknow, there ARE other ways of dealing with these matters. My #2 Son says the longest jail sentence in Norway is 8 years– they figure they can get a criminal turned around into a useful citizen within that time. His best friend works in the Danish prison system. I’ve met Max– he has a solid core of shining silence. Beautiful. Benj says he’s the World’s Best Listener. In Denmark, prisoners are treated with compassion and respect, and are regarded as lost souls who need a hand finding their way.

Nor do I feel there is any support in calling someone a VICTIM. My most major realization this lifetime came from that falsity. Tell you about it sometime.

Right now, however, I did want to branch off about the tenets of my church…

The Episcopalians have a Creed, the Quakers have Queries; since the Church of the Open Forest does not foster a religion but rather a spiritual path, we have Considerations:

Everything’s alive. EVERYTHING. And bears the stamp of the Creator.

How may I be of service?

Every step a blessing, every breath a prayer.

Redemption comes by forgiveness, not retaliation.

Do as you would be done by.

Care to add to this list? Our congregation is lateral, not hierarchical, brothers and sisters. No secret passwords or tithing.

So now! I left the Comments line open for you, & am still available at the Contact button on
May blessings abound.

Posted in Announcements [A].

One Comment

  1. hi ayala. i have taken a couple felt folk classes from you, one at weaving works and first at coupeville. i was surfing the net for a rumer godden story and your blog came up as you had a reference to her. what a coinkydink. you are an inspiration !

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