Gray clouds and rain filled the sky on Sunday morning, as my buddies and I were enjoying a low-carb breakfast in a local Crackerbarrel. Outside, a desperate person was gorging himself on the contents of Mike’s locked truck. Specifically, the thief “punched the lock” (an unfortunately casual bit of detective parlance thanks to my Plano Police cousin, Luke) on the GMC and absconded with the one piece that was easy to reach – my computer bag, containing my MacBook Pro (2015) all the peripherals, extra hard drive, etc. And some pix Evan had drawn for me. Total time for the crime: about 10 seconds.
As it turns out, GMCs – this according to the very helpful DeSoto Police Department, and Luke – are fairly easy to break into, AND Crackerbarrels are notorious for just this kind of violation. Side note: park where you can keep an eye on your car! This isn’t to blame Crackerbarrel. It isn’t their fault – they are just an easy target since they attract travelers with cars loaded to the max.
If you’ve ever had someone break into your house or car, you know how it leaves you feeling vulnerable? I’ve had both, and I have to say, having my car broken into is a step removed from the trauma of a home violation. A bit more remote.
Still, I had to deal with the emotions (not to mention the hassle of trying to replace my computer quickly) that came rushing up, competing with one another for attention. Confusion presented herself first, like an early-morning version of Phyllis Diller before she had her first cup of coffee: “Huh, what just happened…so, where’s my stuff?!” Next, I noticed Anger out of the corner of my eye, but honestly, it was more of a passing shadow – kind of a “Meh, whatev…” Frustration hung a hammock on my heart and settled in for awhile: “You say you want to replace your computer, Bud? Gonna cost ya! Gonna be a few IT hoops to hop through. Heh, heh…”
But then came the unexpected emotion, and one that I didn’t even recognize at first: Sadness just stood there, looking tired and homeless and desperate (think of the Inside Out character without the cuteness). Who would/could willfully hurt another person by breaking and taking what isn’t theirs?
Then, I took a deep breath and recalled that there had been times when I was guilty of breaking and taking – not something physical, not a “thing,” but the more valuable commodity of trust, or love. I have been forgiven so much in my life. I needed to forgive the thief as I had been forgiven – completely, without reservation, without the under-the-breath add-on prayer, “and I hope they catch that sorry…”
And you know what? My “ought to forgive” turned into “get to forgive” really fast! I was actually joyful! And I thanked the Lord – not for the theft, but for the Spirit-enabled capacity to pass on, in a small way, a bit of the forgiveness I had received from His kind hand. To someone who hadn’t even asked. To someone who, like me, didn’t deserve it.
Maybe there’s someone in your life who has stolen something truly valuable from you. I invite you to experience the joy of forgiveness. It will satisfy a hunger you didn’t know you had – and it’s more satisfying than biscuits and gravy at Crackerbarrel!