When Someone Steals

It’s a shock.

I went to the garage yesterday morning and noticed an empty space. My first thought was, “Where’d I put my handcycle?” as though I might have simply misplaced the seven-foot-long, bright yellow machine. It took a moment to assimilate the fact that someone stole my handcycle.

Then there’s some anger, that someone would walk into my garage and steal something so meaningful. Of course the thief didn’t think about what the bike meant to me, but that’s what I wondered.

Then there’s fear. A person bold enough to go to the back of the garage and maneuver such a conspicuous item around obstacles and out of our neighborhood…while we watched TV a few yards away…what else might have happened? It’s a real sense of vulnerability and violation.

There’s frustration, at the thought of replacing such a customized machine. I thought about ordering, sizing, fitting, waiting for manufacture, and then getting it all adjusted and dialed in. With a ride scheduled in a little more than two months, I wondered whether I’d be able to honor my commitment.

But then there’s perspective, once the police left and there was time to reflect. It’s just a thing. Yeah, it’s a special thing, but it can be replaced. Nobody got hurt, no permanent damage to anything that really matters.

I remembered something I wrote during the ride: Life’s determined more by choices than by feelings.

I want to choose gratitude, even though I don’t feel entirely grateful. I’m thankful the thief just took a replaceable thing rather than entering the house and perhaps doing something much worse. I’m glad he escaped without detection, avoiding a potentially dangerous confrontation with us or our neighbors.

I’m grateful for supportive friends and neighbors, for a community where this sort of occurrence isn’t the norm.

Mostly I’m thankful for the perspective to value people more than things. I’m sad for the thief, for whatever internal demons led him to steal. I truly don’t wish him any harm or bad karma or whatever else people call it, because I suspect he’s already fighting plenty of personal battles.

I hope he realizes his mistake and returns the bike. I’d love the opportunity to thank him for reconsidering. I know it’s unlikely, but God touches hearts in unlikely ways.

And if it makes sense, I’m grateful for the ability to choose thankfulness over bitterness, even when that’s not how it feels right now.

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Copyright 2008-2012 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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