Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I'm just a statistic

I have to admit that my small town upbringing has finally caught up with me. Not always remembering the necessity of locking doors was kind of instilled in me in good ole Upper Sandusky. Last week, after a meeting with my mentor, I left my wallet in my car and walked into the house. It wasn't until the next morning that I realized that I couldn't find my wallet. I sat down in my car first and saw that my prescription sunglasses were laying in their case on the seat. This may not seem unusual to most people, but I don't wear them very often, and if I do, I don't put them back in their case until someone rides with me and I need to put them away. As I turned on the car, the gas light came on. Reaching down into the place I normally shove my wallet, I didn't find it. That's not a big deal. It is probably in the back seat. I turned off my car and looked in the back seat. Not there. So perhaps it has fallen on the floor and wedged itself under the seat. Still not there. At this point I call Garrett, freak out, tear the house apart, root through bags and purses, realize how late I am and leave anyway.

As I am driving to church on my gaslight with no cash or plastic to buy gas, and no ID to show if I write a check, I call every place I was the day before, the people I was with, etc. to see if anyone could be of any help. No luck. I get back from church, exhaust myself looking for it, and wait for Garrett to get home. When he arrives, we both scan every inch of the house, turning over furniture and all, looking for my wallet. Not finding it by the time of our dinner date, we leave, and on the ay I call in all of my cards lost/stolen and call in for new insurance cards. Thankfully, I have my passport, so Saturday morning when I go to get a new driver license (on the card it does NOT say "driver's license," just FYI) it was not as much of a hassle as I thought it would be. The whole time I have written my wallet off as "lost" because I don't want to say that it is stolen, find it a few days later, and then be embarrased.

Fast forward to today. As I am leaving my morning class, I check my phone and see that I have a voicemail from a Delaware number that I didn't recognize. I listen to the voicemail, and it is a beautiful voice on the phone saying that she has a few of my credit cards. Her husband was walking their dog through the park that is two houses down from my house and after his dog (Copper, I later learned) had done his "business," the gentleman decided to be a good citizen of Delaware and pick up the poop. While disposing of said poop in the trash can, he saw credit cards, a few business cards, and reciepts strewn about in the can. He (again the responsible citizen) decided to retrieve all of this information, and give me a call. I was quite shocked when his wife called, and I went over to her house to pick up what was left of my wallet. She was a kind woman, with a kind husband (who I didn't meet, but assume he is great because he works as a foreign language professor... I haven't met very many mean language professors. Crazy? Yes. Mean? Not so much) who invited me in, returned my personal information with a promise that she didn't look through it, and gave me her apologies for how awful this has been for her.

So I returned home and filed a police report, not with the hopes of any resolution, but just so that the police were made aware of the situation in our quiet neighborhood. The police officer told me that he couldn't do much, and reminded me to keep better care of my personal information (thanks... like I really need reminded) and went on his way.

I guess I never understood how much people meant it when they say that a robbery or break in robbed them of more than their possesions; it robbed them of their security. This experience really has done that for me. I worry now about whether my garage is locked, and if I latched the windows shut. I wonder if the person who took my wallet just needed a bit of cash, or if they wanted to harm someone. Will they just spend the money, or did they gather enough information to take more money from me from my checking and (meager) savings accounts? I wonder if they'll come back. I feel like my home has been violated.

I have always thought the best of people in all circumstances, but situations like this challenge that view. I also wonder how I am supposed to forgive someone when I don't know who they are or what intentions they had. If they needed a little bit of cash to get a prescription for their grandmother with no medical coverage, fine. Forgiveness granted. But if they needed beer for the party? How am I supposed to forgive that?

But that's what God calls us to... to forgive in all times, places, situations. We are supposed to forgive the drug addict who stole our wallet just like the person who needed a bit more money for something truly worthwhile. Forgive. Easier said than done.

It is like the news story about Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi who bombed a plane in the late 1980's. He has recently been freed from jail because he is thought to be terminally ill. Many of the family members of people killed in the bombing are upset that this killer is allowed to go free. One woman (a mother whose son was killed) said that she forgives him, but that doesn't mean that he should go free. Is that real forgiveness? Or is that saying we forgive someone and still needing that person to be punished so that we feel closure.

So here is the question I pose to you, readers...

Does true forgiviness always bring about a sense of closure?

1 comment:

Tracy said...

I don't think so. Because sometimes, how things work out, I forgive but the one I'm forgiving doesn't even know about it. Or, even if the person does recognize that I've forgiven them, they do not care. In many ways forgiveness is about me and living the way I've chosen to live; it's not about the results.