The thing I’ve been kind of bracing myself for since before we moved.
Someone broke into our house and stole a little stash of cash.
(for those of you who have wondered about the details…and those who have asked how I’m doing…)
I started writing this the day after it happened.
Yesterday I was left around 10:30 to pick up a friend and take her thrift store shopping. We had a really nice time, and got back about 3:00. I was exhausted and sent the boys to separate rooms for their naps–Ian in the boys’ bedroom and Zachary in ours. After they got up they played for a while; we ate supper. Normally we take a meal to the house in the evening. Steve was painting with a sprayer that week, so it didn’t work for us to be at the house with him. We needed to return a few books at the library which we did instead, and got back around 8:30. When I took my bag into our room I noticed that our bedroom window and blind were open. “That’s really weird,” I thought. I knew I hadn’t opened it, and I didn’t think Steve who is always cold would have opened it. I did wonder if some stranger may have opened it, but I decided just not to go there right then.
Again we were all really tired, so I started the bedtime routine and was just finishing up stories when Steve got back from working. He showered and came out to sing with us. About that time the electricity blinked a few times. Then everything was dark. We’d had a rainy day, but it wasn’t stormy or even raining by then. The boys were kind of sacred, so we lit some candles and sang a little longer. Steve had a hard time finding matches when he had wanted to light candles. When I later found the top drawer of our bedside stand open I felt a little suspicious. Not wanting to jump to scary conclusions, I asked him if he had looked for matches in there. The answer…no. (The lock on the window was broken) Uh-oh. I lifted my candle, and noticed that another dresser drawer was open. My heart sank before I even opened the drawer that held my stash of personal money–cash I’d gotten for my birthday, $150 dollars on a Visa gift card that I’d won in a drawing (when does that ever happen?!), money I’d started saving back in SC for the far off day when we’d have a house and I could buy curtains and rugs and lamps and things. Steve was there by then and held the candle while I shakily opened the little organizer where I kept the money. It was empty. All of it was gone.
Such a sinking feeling.
And I cried.
I didn’t really know why because money is not important in the grand scheme of things–you know– but this was a big deal to me. We had other cash in our kitchen that someone gave us for the house or wherever we want to use it. If that would have been gone, it would have been a big fat bummer. This was a much more personal injury because it was my birthday money and gift cards, and probably mostly because it represented the dreams I had for buying special things for our house. It’s the love that came with it, too (the gifts, the sacrifice that came with Steve’s bday gift), the pinching to save already for a couple of years.
I started blaming myself, but I knew there wasn’t really any point.
Why didn’t I spend it instead of saving?
Because I didn’t feel well enough to go shopping/because I wanted to wait till the house was finished.
Why didn’t I carry it with me?
Because I didn’t trust myself to carry that much cash and keep from losing it.
Why didn’t I deposit it in the bank?
Because I knew it would get swallowed up in groceries and bills.
It was gone. That was a fact. Thinking of what I could have done differently wouldn’t help now.
I was thankful that no one got hurt.
I was thankful that he didn’t take anything that couldn’t be replaced such as the computer with all the pictures that aren’t backed up.
Obviously he only wanted cash because I had a camera lens on the dresser, and my passport in the same drawer as the cash. I even had an old, but not expired, credit card in the drawer that wasn’t taken. Still it shook me up. It was pitch dark because the power was out. We couldn’t even SEE that no one was there (even though that wasn’t a huge fear). I wondered what would’ve happened if the boys and I had come home while he was still there. Was this only a beginning? What would happen/be taken the next time? Could I go to sleep, and trust the boys would be okay during the night? It’s just really unsettling to know someone entered your house uninvited.
The next morning Steve explained to Zachary what had happened. Zachary said the window was open when he took his nap which means it must have happened while we were gone the first time–during broad daylight. (The one house beside us has been vacant since we moved here. On the other said of us the house is now empty because our neighbors were evicted a couple of months ago. The back yard is pretty much a private spot.)
One big blessing is that Zachary has been flippant about the whole thing. Robbing has been kind of a big deal to him, and he talks about it a now and then since we’ve moved here. Then he seems to be totally unphased that someone stole from us. In fact, he mentioned that last night was kind of scary–because of the electricity being off. No mention of this.
I’m so amazed at how God had has held me up! Even before we moved, I started kind of bracing myself for the day this would happen. I wanted to think that all our things are really God’s and that we hold them loosely. So when it happened…why was it stinging this much?! Part of me wanted to put on a strong front and be okay…but it was a loss, and I let myself grieve. I’m glad I did. The first day I was on the verge of tears, kind of feeling insecure, and that night when the boys and I came home I checked the bedroom even though I didn’t expect the same thing to happen two days in a row. The next morning I woke up feeling completely different! Not because I was trying to have a positive attitude or anything, but I was just–fine! Not scared. Not sad. Enthusiastic about life, in fact. I have thought for a long time that the most amazing thing about Christianity is the power of God in us that gives us emotions and the will to love, be joyful, etc. when it would never be humanly possible. I felt like this was such an example of that! So many people were praying for us, and I think God covered me with an incredible blanket of grace. I think I’m going to feel a little more fear moving into our new house than I would’ve earlier. Here we have people watching out for us, and even so it happened. But there…?
I almost feel silly saying this because it sounds like I’m trying to be super-spiritual…but I’m NOT. It really was God, because this doesn’t come naturally. By the second day I was really okay with the loss. I was even thinking, “Well, I so badly did not to be in a place where I had too much nice stuff, and people from the community saw me as not being able to relate to their life. Maybe this is just a really good way to force me to purging all of that. So, really, I was okay. (but i was still kind of sad that my tattered sandles and worn out Sunday shoes couldn’t be replaced with birthday money after all). A few days later we got a money gift, and it was exactly the amount I had lost!!!! I cried. Later I asked Steve where he wanted to use it because I knew there were a lot of ways it was needed, and he insisted that we use it to replace what had been taken. Then a few days later Seth handed us an envelope, and said some of the mission staff got together and pooled some money to help cover our loss. I feel so overwhelmed by that gift because it is MORE than what we lost, but the biggest thing is that I know they are all on this super-slim salary as well and they don’t have much money to pour out. The funny(?) thing is that it’s not even the money that is a -wow- thing for me…more feeling the incredible support of people, love, prayers, gifts…and also seeing this as GOD loving us, knowing our needs, and meeting them in unexpected ways.
I love the way He has redeemed this situation!