On a regular Friday night in February, while I was at a meeting at a church, my car window was smashed and my laptop was stolen. When I first approached my car, I thought there was water on the front passenger seat. It took a second for my mind to register that what I was seeing was shattered glass, and it took another second to realize that my laptop bag was missing. As reality sank in, my mind went to all that was lost: tax prep gone, thousands of pictures gone… When was the last time I backed up? And then there was the book I was writing and every workshop I have created: gone and gone. As shock began to flood my body, I was grateful for my sweet supportive friends who immediately surrounded and comforted me. I heard someone say, “Hey, at least they left your orange.” There must have been 10 people loving on me, kicking glass out from under my car, offering me dinner, and administering hugs, and not one of them admonished me for leaving the laptop in my car.
As I wrapped my mind around what had happened, I kept thinking, "It's just stuff, and stuff can be replaced." This was a lesson my father taught me. Still, the frustration of getting both the window and laptop replaced, and not to mention the damage to my car door, started to creep over me. I felt a flood of emotions: anger, shock, sadness, comfort, gratitude, love, and peace. Wait, peace? Yup, sure enough. I worried briefly about the financial impact. I knew it would be okay, even though I didn't know how yet. I somehow managed to remain peaceful. I went to dinner with the group. My friends were gentle, kind, and tolerant as I bounced from one emotion to another.
On the way home in the personal 42 degree wind turbine that my car had become, I thought how grateful I was not to have to bust people's car windows out and steal from them in order to eat or whatever. Yes, the next few days were going to have lots of unexpected detours, and no, I wasn't sure how I was going to afford to get the car fixed and get a new laptop, but I knew God had it under control. I knew I was, and would continue to be, okay. I called my sons and told them (well, hollered over the wind to them) what happened. I let them love on me verbally from home, Austin, and San Marcos. “That sucks, but it’ll be okay Mom. I am just glad you are all right.”
And then my phone rang. It was a number I didn't recognize. I answered. A man’s voice said, "I think I have something of yours,” and I started to cry. While walking his dog with his son, Hershel found my laptop bag with my laptop. He found my business card and called me. I couldn't stop crying. I said, “You have just participated in a miracle in someone else’s life. Thank you!”
We made arrangements for me to get my son's car and turn around and head to Hershel's house. I called my sons and my friends to tearfully share this unbelievable news. My youngest son met me at home. He was in the garage when I pulled in, but he had positioned himself on my side of the car. As I motioned to the broken window, thinking that was what he wanted to see, I realized he was waiting for me to get out of the car to hug me! Then he insisted on going with me and driving. My boys are really the best. I felt so amazingly loved and grateful.
My friends called me again and told me not to go to this stranger’s house but to meet him someplace safe instead. Of course, I was so overjoyed I hadn’t thought of that. So, I called Hershel and carefully, so as not to hurt his feelings, asked him to meet me somewhere public. He completely understood. My friends met us in the designated meeting spot. It turned out that Hershel was a sweet old guy. I think I hugged him 10 times. Oh, and I gave him a tin of Mother's cheesnaps. My laptop was in perfect condition; there was not a scratch, ding, or dent anywhere. It was a real miracle, indeed.
So, why have I written about this? Well, somehow in the midst of a pretty sucky situation where I could have very legitimately felt victimized, angry, and freaked out, I miraculously felt overwhelming gratitude, love, and peace. And that totally rocks!