hidden glory

Monday, March 13, 2006

a stolen spring day

For those of you who live in Philadelphia, you might be thinking that this will describe these 70 degree days we've been experiencing! They have been absolutely gorgeous. In fact, Saturday was definitely one such day. I woke up to the sun streaming into my bedroom, and I could feel that spring was here. There was no shivering as my face hit the winter-cold air of a home trying to save on heating bills. I had a few friends over to celebrate Seth's birthday, and afterwards Seth & I headed out to Fairmount Park (Valley Green entrance) to take a quick hike before hitting the books (or more accurately, the laptop, since I have a paper looming) at our favorite coffee shop in Chestnut Hill.

With the carefree spirit that can only be fully appreciated by those living in the Northeast on such a surprisingly spring-like day in March, I parked my car, threw my purse in the backseat and we set out for a short hike. [lesson #1: NEVER put any valuables in plain sight] Forty minutes later, we returned to the crowded parking lot...only to find the glass shattered of my back passenger window. My first (naive) thought was that there must have been a freak accident because of the change in temperature.

Until I looked inside and noticed what was missing: my school bag, which had my laptop inside it, and my wallet out of my purse. (I was most curious at what they left behind: Seth's backpack, which had his Apple laptop within and all other contents of my purse which were scattered on the seat--including my cell phone and checkbook.) I dialed the police, then immediately called to cancel my credit cards. I found out they had already been used for approximately $280 worth of materials from Home Depot. For over two hours, I was filing police reports, talking to my insurance company, canceling credit cards--doing everything but enjoying the beauty of this spring day.

When the details were sufficiently dealt with, the anger of the injustice of theft began to creep over me. And the sadness of what is lost--forever. It felt like a violation of what I value most: my writings. Many of which were on that laptop, never to be recovered. Irreplaceable. It's still maddening when I think of it. Not to mention the class notes from 6 weeks which are gone. [another lesson: ALWAYS back up work on your computer] And THEN there's the sheer financial cost of covering everything that was stolen. (by the way, car insurance doesn't cover what's stolen out of your car--that would be covered by renter's insurance...which, of course, i didn't have...lesson #3: the cost of renter's insurance IS WORTH IT)

It was surprising to me how emotionally shaking it is to have something like this happen. In the big picture of world tragedy, it's nothing. Miniscule, in fact. Yet the loss I felt (because my laptop IS in many ways the center of my student world!) is an echo of the loss felt by so many on a grander scale around the world. When they returned to their house or store that had been looted by thieves in New Orleans--after being destroyed by a hurricane's flood. It must have been infuriating!

I find myself wanting justice for this person (or group of people). I want them to get caught and to be forced to return what they stole from me. I want to be paid back in full for all that I will have to pay FOR THEIR CRIME against me. This is not fair. And it isn't. But neither is it fair that Someone had to bear the wrath of my crime against God. That HE repaid God for what I could not pay (and am not even sorry for, often).

So then, in my better self -- in who Christ is making me to be -- I want the gospel for this thief. Granted, I want repentance towards me and returning of all my possessions to be part of the effects of salvation in this person. But could I be content if I don't find out until Heaven that this thief gained salvation as a result of what was stolen from me? That somehow by reading through my writings on that laptop or flipping through the words of the Bible in my bag--that God would find this thief as God has found me? And this thief could be amazed by the freedom of grace found in the gospel of Jesus Christ? For even on that moment of death, Jesus Christ died so that one of the thieves dying with Him could be with Him in Paradise. That seems so unjust.

But then -- were it not for the injustice of God, neither would I be in Paradise with Christ. Maybe my laptop will be waiting for me there, too. Certainly much better treasures than all those that were stolen...


  • Wow Heather! I'm so sorry to hear about your laptop and wallet! That's awful! Something similar happened to me a few years ago while my car was parked outstide of church (Spirit & Truth, in North Philly). All my cds (all 100 some that I owned at that point) were stolen out of my car, and my window was broken and glass was everywhere. It's just a shocking situation to come upon.

    It sounds like God is giving you amazing perspective through it all. I can't imagine loosing notes and writings that you've done -- all that hard work. Let's hope that it impacts the thief somehow -- in a way that draws them to Jesus.

    And, yes . . . I cannot wait for warmer weather either!

    By Blogger Mary O, At 10:03 AM  

  • Girl! You need to update your blog with, AHEM, some certain "good news". Wink, wink. Not that everyone doesn't know by now...he, he :0)

    By Anonymous amy, At 9:43 AM  

  • Amy, you'll be glad to see the blog I posted tonight--in honor of your comment. :) And Mary, thanks for your kind encouragement!! It'll be fun to see you ladies this Saturday!

    By Blogger Heather, At 12:19 AM  

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