Wasting Time...

Real Estate Agent with KW at the Parks 651506396

This week I am fulfilling part of my civic duty by showing up at our county courthouse for jury duty. This is my third time being selected in the last 5-6 years. I have yet to be selected to actually serve on a jury. No, I am one the exceedingly unlucky ones who are left to wait and rot in the jury selection room. You sit and pass the time on hard wooden chairs starring at a television screen with the sound turned down while your mind and your butt turn numb. Occasionally, they tell you can leave the room to go get a cup of coffee, a smoke, or to use the bathroom…but mainly you spend your time reading that book you seem to never have time to finish, or fiddling with your smart phone. Such is life in the fast lane.

I was sitting there, my view to the open door leading out into the hallway; when I heard the unmistakable clang of chains striking the hard granite floor. In my heart, I knew what the sound was even before my eyes looked up from my book. Prisoners were being paraded through the hallways of the courthouse from their jail cells at the county jail next door to holding cells located in the bowels of the courthouse to await their court appearance. Clad in bright orange jumpsuits, shackled at both their feet and wrists, and then 10-15 men and women tethered together by another long chain.

Most of them looked to be fairly young. Some of them kept their heads down to avoid the stares of all the other people walking the corridors of the courthouse. Some of them, with that deer-caught-in-the-headlights look on their faces, looked around from side to side as they were being led around like a dog on a leash. A tinge of sadness came over me. I thought to myself…I wasn’t the only one wasting time here today. No, these poor souls were wasting their lifetimes.

Lest anyone think I am being too soft-hearted, I must tell you I was a victim of an armed robbery when I was an assistant manager in a grocery store. I know firsthand what it feels like to have a loaded gun poked in your side and have someone threaten to kill you unless you do as they say. No, I know only too well that there are monsters who walk among us. I remember how frightened I was to be in that store for the next year following that robbery. That was 40+ years ago, but I can play it back in my head vividly. Not much else has stayed stored in this old brain of mine…but coming close to being killed has a tendency to stay with you.

And yet, my experience of being a victim does not take away for the sadness I felt for them, and their families, and their victims. Their actions have cost everyone time. Time spent in fear for some. Time spent in pain as victims recovered from their injuries. Family member’s time as they stressed over a loved one who took a path of crime. You read in the newspaper of someone being sentenced to decades behind bars and you tend to think nothing of it…and yet, seeing those young faces knowing that the next time some of them will know freedom their faces will be old and wrinkled.

Such a waste…

As an old man, I would like to go shake them and tell them they are wasting a precious gift…the gift of time. Somewhere on a shelf sits an hourglass representing each of our lives. Slowly that sand makes its way from the top of the hourglass to the bottom. When all the sand has poured into the bottom, there is no one to magically turn the hourglass over. No, once your sand has emptied…your life is over. Your time here on Earth is finite. God wanted more for us that to be a caged animal.

Long after the prisoner parade was over, the image kept playing in my head as I thought about them. I said a prayer for them. I asked God to give them a Saul to Paul moment…to give them a life changing conversion. I asked God to help their victims. I asked God to help their families. No mother wants prison for their child. I prayed that their mothers would see a day when they could once again be proud of their son, or daughter.

The longer I sat there, the more I thought that you don’t have to be wearing an orange jump suit to be wasting time. Some of us walk around hurt and angry. Some of us walk around in guilt. Some of us have put ourselves in prison cells every bit as real as the ones with iron bars. The baggage we carry around destroys not only us, but everyone around us who loves us.

So, I said another prayer that God would break the chains from those of us who outwardly appear to be free, but find themselves held captive mentally and spiritually.

I asked God to never let me forget to see the humanity in everyone, despite what they have done.

Perhaps yesterday wasn’t as wasted a day as I originally thought.

Comments (36)

Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Such wisdom in these words. Life is a gift God gives us what we do with it is our gift to him.

Sep 03, 2016 11:25 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Thomas Craig,

So glad I found your post on Kathy Streib's "Ah-ha" moments for the week! So uplifting..life is a gift and is not to be wasted..each moment counts! Thanks for sharing your experience.

Sep 03, 2016 11:52 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Tom -- I also came here via Kathy Streib's post.  She was right -- I like the way you think.   A very thoughtful post.    

Sep 04, 2016 02:31 AM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL

Thanks everyone for taking the time to read this post and then comment on it. Your support is most appreciated. Have a great rest of your weekend!


Sep 04, 2016 04:35 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

It is interesting to see how we mature as we age. The way we look at things at this age compared to 10 or 20 or even 40 years ago. Every life is precious, and all any of us ever wanted, was to be loved.

Sep 04, 2016 06:54 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

What a wonderful post, Thomas - truly thoughtful, heartfelt, and kind.  It does make you wonder what happened in these lives that got them there, and what lies ahead!!

Thank you, this really was a joy to read today!


Sep 04, 2016 08:50 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

I recall the first time as a child watched a bunch of prisoners chained together working on growing vegetables.  It was a horrifying scene why they were locked up.

As a grown up they are probably lucky to be around as many countries will not tolerate our lenient judicial system. 

With that said, I went to county recorders offie and came back saw this car parked....

Bomb squad 

Sep 04, 2016 11:29 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

 The following news contain horror scenes by the PI law enforcements if you wish to view be prepared.....

Dealing with druglords  

This is what other countries are doing to eradicate a problem. This time it is drugs...

Sep 04, 2016 11:33 AM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL


you are so right...all any of us want is to be loved. Thanks for your comment.


Sep 04, 2016 11:14 PM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL


thanks for stopping by and commenting, it was much appreciated.


Sep 04, 2016 11:15 PM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Platinum - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

I can see why Kathy chose to high light your post this week!  Great stuff!~

Sep 04, 2016 11:48 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

You are absolutely right. We only have so much time, and then it's just done. That last drop of sand hits the bottom of our hourglass and our lights are extinguished. It is sad that anyone wastes their time.

Sep 05, 2016 06:39 AM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL


I am glad that Kathy chose to include my post in her weekly highlights too. Her doing so emabled it to be read by a great deal more people. I am glad you stopped by.


Sep 05, 2016 11:59 PM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL


As  so many have pointed out in their comments, the older you get...the more you value time. Oh, to have know about the preciousness of time back when I was 30. But then, isn't that what life is all about. It's all part of God's plan.  As our bodies age and we aren't as active as we once were, that extra time is meant for reflection.  It's meant as a time to heal old wounds...both in ourselves and others whom we have wounded.


Sep 06, 2016 12:05 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

So beautifully written, Thomas!

I'm so glad that Kathy featured your post this week. What an amazing message.

I love that you realized your day wasn't wasted afterall.

You have given us all something to think about!

Sep 06, 2016 05:43 AM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL


Thank you so much for leaving a comment, and for your kind words. They are very much appreciated.


Sep 07, 2016 04:52 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Thomas Craig - excellent piece - perhaps from your heart!

And so true - unknowingly, too....

"The baggage we carry around destroys not only us, but everyone around us who loves us."

Sep 07, 2016 04:33 PM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL


Thank you so much for taking the time to post a comment. It is much appreciated.


Sep 07, 2016 10:10 PM
Janice Zaltman
United Realty Group - Boca Raton, FL
Energy Efficient And Eco-Friendly Homes in Florida

Hi Thomas: Beautiful post. Seems like some people are  the "lucky" ones who keep getting assigned jury duty. Even one moment can make a difference in one's life. This one was an eye opener for you. Love the hourglass analogy.  A moment's choice did not bode so well for the others there. 

Sep 11, 2016 12:34 PM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL


Thank you so much for your contribution to this post. It was very much appreciated. Yes, our lives can turn on a moments notice.


Sep 12, 2016 12:41 AM