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Shaken, Maybe Stirred, but Not Stranded

Once again I find myself returning to the subject of inanimate loss…mostly.

I say mostly because this time is actually a combination of losing a material item, as well as a bit of a sense of security.

On Sunday, my car was broken into. Sad, tragic, yes. Of course the part of it that absolutely disgusts me is WHERE my car was at the time. Where you ask? The parking lot…of…a…church. I mean, come on criminal people. While sure, unattended cars are generally fair game for criminal enterprises, is NOTHING sacred? I am fairly certain Mr. Thief that somewhere your grandma is ready to slap you silly.

Anyhoo, this time around my loss was rather significant in that it was an entire equipment bag. It contained all the goodies you would expect an IT geek to carry when they had plans to fix something that day – hard drives, cables, some tools, oh, yeah, and a laptop. Yeah, that’s right. The little schmucks got my laptop. Of course it’s fairly useless given the security measures that were in place on it, but I suppose it was good for parts. My poor baby! Although it probably wasn’t even good for that given the age. To be honest, I’d been dragging my feet on replacing it for a while because it was so old.

The fact of the matter is that while this time around I *did* lose a material item, I really haven’t lost much. The materials will be covered by insurance. The data was backed up. So what exactly did I lose?

Simple. That very fragile sense of security. I made mention of, but never got around to talking about, when my house was broken into last year. It was a traumatic experience, but not because anything was stolen. In fact, the idiots were caught red-handed IN the house (boy do I love police dogs). But for months afterwards every time we left the house my hooligans would make mention of “What if the bad guys come back while we’re gone?” They started hiding things that were important to them *just in case*. A piece of their innocence is what was actually stolen that day.

This week, a piece of mine was taken. Routine church going is something relatively new for me. (I swear, that Mr. Mystery Man is corrupting me something fierce!) Doing anything outside of my usual patterns always takes an effort, but it’s one I’m embracing more and more these days. On Sunday, not only was I going to church for the 4th week in a row, but then I was going to put my computer skills to good use for a change, and had in my head a few other ideas of how to push myself into uncharted waters, just because I could. I was excited for the day, optimistic about my world in general and feeling great.

What is it they say about the best laid plans?

Coming out of the church with a pack of excited, wild girls (adorable) only to find my car window smashed and my bag gone was such a shock. A voice in my head said “See, that’s what happens when you think things are going well.” I don’t like that voice.

But here’s where I learned just how much tougher I am than I give myself credit for being. I didn’t fall apart. I didn’t melt down. I do think I rambled a little bit, but I made the decision that the day was not going to be a total loss. There were children that needed distraction and I would just have to handle my business one way or another. I repeated to myself that what was gone and damaged were just “things”…that in the grand scheme they were truly irrelevant.

Was that easy? Heck no. It sucked big time. But I’m fortunate enough to have people in my life who rock at helping me and at distracting me.

Not to say that it didn’t hit me. Of course it did later. That quiet alone time that I can’t stand led to many feelings of sadness. In fact, to be perfectly honest, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back for a couple of weeks of intense pressure, and I was blue and unable to eat for about 3 ½ days, much to the worry of a few of my nearest and dearest.

But then something changed in me. I found myself having a reality check. No one was hurt. Nothing was taken that can’t be replaced. Maybe there are things I could have done differently, maybe they wouldn’t have made a difference. The bottom line was I could only be held down if I allowed myself to be.

People often talk about how thieves have no clue of the true things they steal from people. I think this is accurate. It’s not the material possessions. It’s the feeling of security and safety that you have a much harder time recovering from. It took my boys almost a year to stop worrying about our house being broken into, and frankly there are times I believe they still think about it. It will take me a little time to not worry about my car being broken into—but I will let it go…and never leave anything valuable in it again…

Bottom line time – there are circumstances and situations in life where your foundation gets shaken. Something happens that, while perhaps not life threatening, rocks you in a way you never saw coming. The question becomes what do you do next? Do you let it keep you down and wallow in “Why me?” or do you accept that it happened and figure out how to keep moving on.

Bad things will come your way. Sometimes you can avoid them, sometimes not. When they happen, mourn your losses, but move on with your life in as timely a manner as you can manage. Remember - in the end, the one who suffers if you remain stagnant and depressed is just you. And really, who wants THAT to be their everyday existence?

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