I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Day 2011

This is what the passenger side window on my car looks like today. I took this picture with my old (and now only) camera of the theft of my purse at Lake Padden. I don't want to rehash what I wrote on my other blog, which I've linked if you are interested in the details. Right now I want to clear myself of the feelings I'm experiencing, so that I can enjoy the quiet beauty of the day.

Last year I was traveling home from Boulder, my first trip back since I left in April 2008. It was loss of another, more devastating kind that took me there. I wrote about it here on the Sunday following last Christmas. My habit of writing in this blog on Sundays gives me a sense of continuity of emotions. Last year I had to deal with the loss of my beautiful Emily, a far worse kind of loss than this one today. I'm growing accustomed to finding ways to deal with the constant need to let go of possessions, even the hardest of them, of friendships and family who mean everything to me.

Although now I am still feeling a sense of violation, knowing that the thieves know where I live, have a key to my car, are looking through my un-password protected iPad2, probably smiling at the pictures still in my camera, they are the losers here. They are the losers because they will one day be caught, probably not because of me, but because they will continue until something goes wrong with their scheme. As some pointed out on my other blog, the first thing they did was fill their car with gas and go grocery shopping. Perhaps they are out of work and stealing to make ends meet. It's a lucrative thing to do: I was surprised to find that the charges on my cards will be covered by the bank, but they will keep the goods they purchased before the cards stopped working.

I am thinking of someone here in my home town having a nice Christmas dinner with those groceries. The Starbucks cards will give them coffee and treats for quite a while. Whatever they bought at Rite Aid (which is not only a pharmacy but has just about everything else) will most likely be useful things. I couldn't see what they charged on my credit card, just the amounts, but I am picturing them as being something they really needed. I wanted to gift the needy in some way, and inadvertently, that's just what I did. But it will be the last time. Password protection and never again leaving anything of value in my car will make sure of that, since my car will never feel secure again, as long as I know they have a key to it and know where I live. But I will not hate them.

In this crowded world where there are so many who cannot survive without taking from others, it's only going to get worse. I saw the movie "Contagion" this year that showed Matt Damon playing a father trying to protect his family as people began to die and civilization began to break down. A scene of him seeing the family in the house across from his being systematically gunned down to steal the food in their kitchen, because there was no other way to get food, chilled me then, and chills me even more now. I know in my heart that once it becomes that bad, those with guns will not hesitate to kill me for what I have. As the police pointed out to me yesterday when I was so distraught, at least I am not dead and will recover from this.

What choices I still have about how to deal with this, now that I think I have stopped the hemorrhaging of loss, lie entirely within my heart. Yesterday was too soon for me to do anything but cry and moan, but today is a day of renewal and joy. The light is beginning to return to the skies, although the days are merely seconds longer than the days before, but they will continue to grow longer and spring cannot be far behind. Seasons only last a few months, and while we are busy living our lives, loving those who matter to us, imperceptible change begins to take place. One day, not too long from now, I'll realize that I'm healed and stronger than before.

So I can say with the tiniest bit of Christmas cheer, be joyful today. Hug your loved ones to you and realize that they, too, could be gone in an instant, but be glad you have them today. The present moment is really all we have. But love never, ever goes away.


wendyytb said...

Merry Christmas DJan! I "get" what you are saying... "people are more important than things...". Hugs!

Rita said...

Yes, I think you did inadvertently gave to the needy. Most criminals don't rush off to the gas station and the grocery store and pharmacy. So odds are in your favor that they weren't professionals and won't ever do anything else to you. I'm just so glad you're okay.

I just dropped a sharp knife on the back of my left index finger and sliced it over an inch. It quit bleeding and I have it bandaged up and I can bend my finger. So much for doing any more art or crafts for a while. Good thing I already know how to typed one-handed--LOL!

Yup! Things can change in a moment. ;)

Have a really good and happy day, my friend. :):)

Anonymous said...

What about your house keys? Did they take those, too? Heaven forbid. When my home was burglarized TWICE, I, too, felt violated. I was also mugged in an elevator at gun point. AND I was assaulted on my way home at 10 pm from a concert.

But, guess what, those horribe feelings passed with time. Yours will, too, DJan. Take care and God bless you.

Linda Myers said...

You are a wise woman, DJan, to turn your heart toward the possibility of need in these people. It will probably heal you faster as well.

I have been hurt in the last few days by a family member. That rarely happens these days, and I woke up anxious and depressed wondering how that relationship came to be as it is now. I've decided to let it go to the best of my ability, and in my quiet time today to put out a wish for that person to have everything their heart desires. I find that helps me heal as well.

Have a peaceful day, friend.

Gigi said...

What a rotten thing to happen. I like your perspective on it though. Have a merry Christmas, Djan. Hugs.

CiCi said...

Hi DJan, I enjoyed our phone visit today. I feel fortunate to have been able to talk with you on Christmas day 2011. Wow. You made my Christmas merrier. It is not a small thing to have your personal items stolen, and your car window broken. It is a nuisance to have to replace all the identification papers and credit cards. I thank God you were not attacked or hurt physically. I know you will work your way through the grieving process and come out in a place of understanding and forgiveness. That is the way for you to be healthy, and after all, that is what you have control of even as you had no control over the deliberate invasion of your property. I can't help feeling sorry for someone who feels justified in breaking someone's car window and stealing their camera, iPad, purse and personal id cards and to have the gall to use the credit cards and take money from their account is just something I can never understand. Today of all days we like to think other people think as we do; peace and good will to all. I hope you rest well tonight and wake with a smile in your good health and your safe home. Hugs to you.

Rubye Jack said...

This is so terrible DJan. However, I love your attitude. Who knows what their reason was - to buy drugs or put food on the table for their kids. It sucks that people feel they have to go this far to get what they need, but hating only hurts you and not them. I do think it would leave you feeling quite vulnerable though. If they have a key to your house, I would change the lock.
It reminds me of that question, why do bad things happen to good people?
Take care and I hope you've had/having a good Christmas or Hanukkah or just a good Sunday.

#1Nana said...

One of the many boxes that FedEx delivered to my house over the past week was new electronic doorknobs. Over Thanksgiving we were robbed while we were in Texas. I feel that sense of violation also...my little oasis is no longer secure. I spent some time ranting about change, but then I wrote a piece for the blog and got it out of my system. (I'll probably post it this week.) I hope your post helps you to let it go. Have a Happy New Year!

O-town Ramblings said...

This is such a great post. I really liked what you said about seasons only lasting a few months and one day realizing you are healed and stronger. So true! Your strength and positive attitude are such inspirations to me. Thank you.

Arkansas Patti said...

You managed to turn a tragic post into a positive one. Amazing. I can't imagine how violated you must feel. Somehow I fear as times get harder, people who would never have stooped to stealing, may do just that.
Not sure what I would do if I had a family to feed, no prospects or support system.
We are in trying times.
I am so grateful you were not physically hurt.

CrazyCris said...

I am always in admiration of how strong a person you are each time I come visit here DJan. I wish you a Merry Christmas (a bit late, no time for blogging with the family here), and I hope you continue to find the strength you show in each of your writings! many hugs!

Sally Wessely said...

On the day after Christmas, I finally have time to read some posts. This is when I read of the break-in on your car. I am so sorry this happened to you. You were violated in a way that will continue to leave you vulnerable. I think that is what upsets me most.

Honestly, perhaps these folks were in need, but need and breaking into cars just don't go together in my book. I have had a similar experience years ago, and I still remember how violated I felt when my purse was taken from my car.

Your attitude of turning this into a positive learning experience does not surprise me. You are wise to guard your heart and to know that people are the ones who value not things.

Sandi said...

What an inspiring post, DJan. You took this tragic event, and turned it around.
While it's possible that the thieves needed food, etc, there is no excuse for taking it. Still, it happened, and I appreciated many of your words, especially, "One day, not too long from now, I'll realize that I'm healed and stronger than before."

You are well on the road to that day. It is these experiences, and also the remembrance of your friend Emily, that make us ever mindful that, as you also said, "The present moment is really all we have. But love never, ever goes away."

Being in the present, not bitter about the past, is what gets us through and makes us whole, helping us heal.

Thank you for sharing your experience, your heart and your words of hope.

Αστραδενή / Astradene said...

Congratulations on the way you handled this rather misfortunate incident!

Russell said...

Stop by and wish Johanna a Happy Birthday on Tuesday, December 27!

Jackie said...

Jan...I have been quietly reading your blog. I wanted to comment on several posts, but didn't. I just quietly read. I decided tonight that I wanted to reach out and comment to you, a woman I've never met, but who I feel such admiration for.
I read about your loss...and clicked on link after link and read about even more losses in your life. You are a remarkable woman, and I wanted you to know the choices you make after each and every loss you have faced fills my heart with the most admiration. Your strength strengthens me. I wanted you to know....

Nancy said...

Wise, wise words.