As I put the key in the lock and opened the second floor door, I stopped suddenly. The lights were on -- all of them. I could see my bedroom door was wide open. I was certain when I left for this 10 day business/pleasure trip that all lights were off and doors closed. Hmmm...
Oddly, I was not frightened. It was like walking into someone else's reality television show. I was... bewildered and curious. Knocking on my next door neighbor's door at 11:30 p.m., I was relieved to see a light on in his kitchen. When he opened the door, having just arrived home from his business trip a half hour previously, I explained the situation and asked him to accompany me through my town-home.
Being a neophyte at playing "victim of theft", it didn't occur to me to call the police for this walk through. All those episodes of Law and Order were for nought.
Dan kindly and bravely walked with me through each room, as I noted the clothes scattered out of all the top drawers that had been left open. In my eight year old daughter's bedroom, even her little cardboard jewelry box had fallen open in the raid. I wondered briefly if the thief had taken her favorite chap stick or green nail polish.
In my room, my nightstand had been rifled through, with some of its contents strewn on the bed. There, just below my pillow, had landed a picture of Jesus radiantly looking up. I wondered if He could tell me about what He saw. I smiled as I wondered whether the thief happened to glance at His witness.
Below the large empty space that used to house a 32" flat screen television, were family photos that had been placed on the carpet and couch -- almost as if the thief had been careful with them. I felt grateful for that. What he didn't take, he didn't break.
By the end of the short tour, it was clear I was also absent a computer, a three drawer, two sided jewelry box, and some cash that was in an office drawer that I hadn't had time to deposit before I left.
"Interesting," is all I kept thinking. My daughter was due to arrive from her sleep over at 7 a.m. the next morning, so I cleaned up to assure she would not suspect anything unusual.
Two police officers arrived at 12:15 a.m., and they were kind and informative. One of them said, "Next time, don't clean up the crime scene until we get here, OK?" Darn! More Law and Order episodes flashed in my mind.
Then the older police officer added, "Someone must have known you were gone because this townhouse is in such an odd position in the complex that even I would have a hard time finding it." You know, I had always thought that it would be hard for a thief to find my place even if he was to get into the well locked complex. I immediately searched my mind for the names of those I told I would be gone for 10 days. The list was very short and not helpful in determining the guilty party.
I had a police report number in hand for insurance and was about to retire at 12:30, when my buzzer sounded.
"Who is it?" I asked, wondering in a fog whether it was the policeman or the thief who was back because he forgot something.
"It's a police technician unit, Ma'am. I'm here for fingerprints."
Wow. Is this really the second largest police department in the country? How could someone be responding this quickly?
In came Officer Don with his kit. After reviewing all the possible places the thief may have inadvertently left his fingerprints, we both noticed at the same time the mirrored frame that had been placed face down on the ground. It had heavy fingerprints that did not resemble my long, thin, antennae-like fingers. As he chatted about his life on the squad, Officer Don took my fingerprints so he could compare them to those on the frame. He left at 2:30 a.m. saying as he left, "Homicides have priority so we may not be able to process these fingerprints for a while."
Despite the evidence surrounding me, I was strangely amused that anyone could rob me. I pray, meditate, and do not have any sense of being unsafe in the world. I kept checking in with myself as one would a child whose temperature was unsure, trying to detect if I was in emotional denial. It was so odd: I did not feel violated or unsafe. I was just wondering how a thief could have gotten past my spiritual radar and what part of me he represented.
"How am I robbing myself?" I thought. Then I considered the items stolen: television -- don't really need one of those; computer -- this was a computer I was about to send to a friend who had fallen on hard times; and jewelry -- I kept asking myself when I packed for this trip why I was taking all my favorite jewelry! Yes, there were a few expensive, uninsured pieces of jewelry, but really, not important in the scheme of things. And cash -- well, if this person who stole from me was in great need, I would have given that to him. So what had I lost?
A neighbor had seen a suspect and gave a description. One detective and another policeman in a burglary unit called within a week to say they were both working on this robbery. I kept shaking my head at all the help and support coming my way.
Then I made a decision. This thief must need me to pray for him. Now that he has stolen from me, we have a karmic connection, which means my prayers will impact him more than others' prayers. So, I got busy. I prayed and prayed for that guy. Every day, all day long. Sometimes I still smile as I see him in the middle of a heist feeling annoyed that he keeps having thoughts about world peace.
I pray that not only will he be healed of the fear and lack he feels that creates his need to steal, but that someday he will help heal others that have the same fear. It suddenly felt like a privilege to have box seats into his consciousness, and to pour in as much light as his free will allows. I aggressively asked that my prayers would seep deep into his heart and mind when he was unsuspecting and undefended.
We are such powerful beings. What light we can shed on this mixed up world. Maybe this thief (now I affectionately think of him as "my thief") will make me a proud conscious victim by finding a more fulfilling path for himself. If not, he will continue to have a very annoying, nagging presence of light, loving him unabated!
Follow Therese Rowley, Ph.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/drtrowley