Here is a post written the night our house in the Fountain Square Neighborhood of Indianapolis, Indiana was broken into. We had just moved there and started fixing up a 100 year old house:
It was mildly strange that the back door was unlocked and even more that the door to the kitchen was. Beautiful will sometimes leave the porch door open while locking the kitchen door so someone can get to the porch but not in the house but both doors were unlocked when I got home yesterday. When I came into the kitchen I could see through the house to the front door and it was wide open with Molly, our dog, sitting on the front porch looking out the screen door. I called for Kate knowing that she wasn’t off work yet but what other explanations could there be?
The window on the front door was plexi-glass and broken out of its frame. All of the drawers to all of our dressers, desks, and cabinets were opened and ransacked. There were clothes all over the floor in both bedrooms, a broken lamp in the living room, and the door to the upstairs and other closets were all open. Someone had broken in to our house and gone through everything. I looked to see what was missing. TV still there, iPod sitting on my desk, DVDs still in the pulled out drawer, jewelry dumped on the dresser but still there. The only thing missing was the change on my dresser inside a Boris Yeltsin (he was a democratic president so he could be trusted with the change, or so I thought) nesting doll I bought in Kiev. Somebody broke our door, ransacked our house and made off with less then $10 worth of pennies, nickels, and quarters.
I went next door to talk to Ronnie to see if he saw anything. “Are you kidding me, if I saw someone in your house they would still be there on the floor.” We went across the street to talk to the neighbors we lovingly referred to as the gnomes and junior had seen someone. Black hoodie, white gloves. Over and over junior told us about the sweatshirt and the gloves. His brother started to get mad at him for not doing something earlier and I have to admit that was my first reaction as well. But I didn’t say anything and as junior described the guy for the 30th time I realized he was trying to atone in the only way he knew how. My neighbors took it personally. It was not their house but they felt like it happened on their watch. Ron interrogated the other neighbors and junior waited for the police to tell them about the black sweatshirt and white gloves.
The police officer arrived and got the description from junior. He looked at the door and asked if anything was missing. Just the change. He came inside and said “Wow, Nice floors” and asked if we wanted the place dusted for prints. No sense in it if junior’s black hoodie, white gloves guy was the one. Not much he could do and we knew that. He thanked us for moving into the neighborhood, encouraged us that it was getting better and better and to stick with it, and then went on his way.
I wanted to fight someone, I pictured bats hitting legs and fists hitting faces but knew that solved nothing. The person that did this was looking for fast cash for a quick score. Most likely a drug addict that needed a fix now. Why leave the iPod or other stuff and only take the change? The person that did this is exactly the person I want to reach out to, to pray for, to offer a better life. The person that did this is part of the reason we moved to this neighborhood. God give me your heart for this person. God let me see this person as you see them. God, bless them.
Beatiful and I set about moving on and that meant cleaning. We went into the bedroom and saw all of her clothes spread around the room. “They got in my F*&%ing underwear!” I don’t think I have ever heard my wife drop an F-bomb but it was warranted. It didn’t seem out of place. Beautiful washed every stitch of clothing she had and I cleaned the kitchen. She cleaned the bathroom and made dinner and cleaned the dining room and living room. When you feel violated you have to clean. There is a film on your house and you need to scrub it off. That’s the way it feels anyway, but really there is a film on you and scrubbing every thing else seems to be the best way to deal with it.
Our next door neighbors Ron and Suzie came over with our alley neighbor’s Mike and Moses. Ron wanted to talk some more, to apologize for letting us down. He wanted to look in our eyes and find the forgiveness that he couldn’t convince himself he deserved. Mike brought a jar of coins collected from the people in the neighborhood when they heard what happened to us. Sometimes “we care” or “you matter to us” or “you are not alone here” sounds an awful lot like coins clinking on the side of a jar.
It’s not the loss of property that hurts, it’s the loss of peace but we know that we are cared for, that we matter, and most of all that we are not alone.