For the last five years, I’ve made most of my living writing stories about crimes and gathering information about them. I must have heard about a new death investigation, burglary, or other tragedy everyday. And when you’re exposed to things like that on a daily basis, it’s easy to become jaded and guard yourself just to remain unbiased. But what happens when you’re put in a victim’s shoes?
I got my answer last Tuesday. That’s because I was put in a victim’s shoes. I officially became a burglary victim. Nearly $2,000 worth of stuff was stolen from the house I was slowly turning into home during a stormy evening. Electronics, food and personal items, including my fiance’s wedding band for our wedding less than a month away—all taken.
A Rollercoaster Of Emotions
Needless to say, my contact information added to the dozens filed by police and deputies investigating property crimes in suburban neighborhoods, and messages with my voice waited for investigators days after they scoured “my home” for evidence. And for a minute, I became the crazy neighbor who seemed to call police when someone appeared to look at me or “my home” incorrectly. But luckily for them, my calls just didn’t make it through to the dispatcher. I guess that’s because I know the system. I know that 911 is only for emergencies and seeing people running in a storm isn’t quite an emergency, no matter how “suspicious” you think they look.
It’s crazy how experiences like this always seem to find a way of triggering every emotion you never thought you had. In fact, I think I’ve felt anger, fear, sadness, relief, and gratitude at different points. Then, there’s the feeling of deja vu.
A Feeling Of Deja Vu
I distinctly remember the days after someone broke into my parents’ apartment when I was a child. I remember walking into the place I called “my home” only to be greeted by a broken window and emptiness. I don’t remember exactly how old I was. All I know is that I was old enough to understand that someone stole from our home and that stealing was not something you were supposed to do. Being so young, I didn’t have much emotion, but I knew my parents were angry. So much so, a future run-in with the suspect led to violence and a trip to the hospital for my step-father.
Imagine seeing someone you know leave home and having them return covered in blood. It’s a sight I’ll never forget. It was honestly one of the scariest moments in my life. And it changed the way I responded to any situation involving material things. Although I appreciate the material things I have, I know they’re not the most important things in life. The people around you are.
Learning From Tragedy
So this time around, being in the midst of my own emotional rollercoaster…my first priority was making sure my fiance was never in harm’s way. I was relieved that we weren’t inside the house when the burglars made their entrance, and grateful for life and what was left behind. After calling 911, we actually sat in my fiance’s car and prayed. We prayed for continued safety, and thanked God for each other and for the promise that all things work for the good of those who love Him.
Less than 48 hours later, we were seeing the good. After hearing word of what happened, many of my fiance’s co-workers banded together and brought gifts to help us get back on track. Family and friends also reached out to help us. And still..at this point, I don’t even think the words “thank you” could even express the gratitude and appreciation my fiance and I both have.
It’s like feeling the world is under a perpetual cloud of ugliness, then seeing a ray of beauty that shines through, reinforcing your faith in mankind and his ability to love and help others.