Lori, our two daughters (who were 8 and 11 at the time) and I were out mid-day doing something…

Cheer leading practice? Shopping for wardrobe updating deals at GAP? Picking up NKOTB’s new CD? A little time on the beach? I don’t recall.

Returning home I scrape a hub cap pulling the mini-van up to the front of our house and notice that our front door is open. Huh???

As I walk up the front walkway and then up to the front porch I'm suspicious, nervous and very confused. Something is wrong.

There are moments when some event that is so outside our experience of life confronts us and freezes our brain’s processing ability. Zzzzzit... errrkit... buzz... shiiiii ...clunk… you have to reboot at break neck speed… What is this?      Pillows by the front door… overturned chair… it wasn’t like that when we left was it?      NO!      Huh... what?    I pause at the front of the door with a confused look that’s turning into one of shock-fear-rage… our home has been ransacked? Burglarized? I gasp in disbelief, shock… Why? When…. Are they still inside?

I ask Lori to go in to check things out while I stay with the kids.     I'm kidding!!! 

I walk in telling the family to stay curbside… I grab the first thing that’ll serve as a weapon; it happens to be a ruler sitting on a stand by the door… the house is trashed.

I now know what the word violated means but I can’t come close to describing it.

We call the police and take a first pass at damage assessment. All dresser drawers have been dumped, closets emptied, the floor is covered. The Stereo is gone. Lori’s jewelry is gone. It’s only a moment later that the weight of the loss hits Lori. She weeps deeply over her mother’s heirloom jewelry being stole… to the despoiling pillaging snake it’s a few quick bucks, to Lori it’s something of her mother she can still touch, it’s generations of memories taken forever.  Vile marauders from hell!

A bunch of stuff is gone. The final insult was that the creeps even took my 8 year old daughter’s pink piggy bank!  (A small satisfaction came knowing that upon breaking open her porky bank the punk ass thief would only find some change and an I.O.U for most of the cash… I’d robbed it about a week earlier! Hey… there wasn’t an ATM close by!)

A full inventory of all that’s been lost from any violation, robbery or otherwise takes much longer than you realize. We reported to our insurance company all we could materially identify but then a week later Lori says, “Honey, grab the camera as were walking out the door to go to a picnic”. I go to the closet where we keep the camera. It’s gone. Oh, they stole that too!

A month later we’re having company over and are trying to find a silver platter… we’re looking everywhere accusing each other of not putting it where it belonged after its last use… Ahhh… the slim took that too.

The police said the intruder was only in our home a few minutes but for a long, long season it seemed as if they were still there. Often it seemed like there were a dozen sleazy red beady eyes looking through the windows or from around a corner snickering at our loss, our pain and our fear. It was as if these pirating rodents were mocking the security and peace we once enjoyed as a family; celebrating their intrusion into our minds and setting into motion an anxiety every single time we return to our home.

Is it safe… is someone inside… have we been crapped on again? Are they prowling about, scheming to rob us of everything they haven’t already… or to steal all we’ve acquired since…  our new stereo, camera… a silver tray or another night’s sleep?”

I've often thought back on this trauma. It was horrible. And I realize it wasn't the first time nor the last.

 A lot got stolen from my childhood and youth through various wounds. Things like "family", innocence, identity, security, fathering, a whole lot of brain cells (circa 1967-1972)… so very much.

I remember a poker game… several good friends sitting around playing poker having a beer and then something is said/implied… unintentionally it strikes a wound, a deep wound…assumptions and agreements are made. Those good friends haven’t played poker together in 6 years. Something got stolen.

What's been stolen from you over the years?

Recent accounts I've heard:

A 12 year marriage. The husband’s wound and script for life leads him to the conclusion: “She’s too much work!” and his every attempt to love be strong, be present seems to have only failed. So, to preserve the “peace” he gives up the battle and messiness and goes passive, doesn’t care, and finds another lover on the internet or on a business trip. Something was lost, something stolen.

A colleague at work who became a friend in all kinds of missions and mischief… leaves. The transition is hard but the commitment is to stay in touch… there’s too much history to walk away from. Something happens and he burns all his bridges. Every single one. Something prized, something special is stolen or lost.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. - John 10:10

The thief will take everything he can from you!

The good news is that he can be stopped. He must be.

And there is a life, that no matter what else gets taken, cannot be stolen from us. Ever. No way!

- Craig McConnell




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