Friday morning, at about 6:48 AM, someone kicked in the door to my house. Friday morning, I lay in bed, dreaming happy dreams with my husband beside me and my puppy at my feet, and someone kicked in the door to my house.
The sound shocked me awake. I sat up. The dog started barking. Someone kicked the door in to my house. We jumped out of bed, and rushed into the living room. Parts of the frame lay scattered around. The door was open, the intruder was gone, and nothing was missing.
Actually, the last part is a lie. It is the thing that you tell the police, because none of our physical property was taken. But our sense of security had been.
I sat in the living room, shaking, waiting for the police to arrive. The thoughts of everything that could of happened flooded my mind. I've been mugged, held at gunpoint, but those were violations of my person. This was a violation of my home.
Home is meant to be that place where you feel safe, secure, at ease. It is where you unwind, relax, and rest. I didn't do much of that Friday, Friday night, or Saturday. Sure, we had a new door, new locks, and a great carpenter who did a wonderful job, but someone had kicked the door in at my house.
I posted to Facebook immediately, but I decided to take a few days before I wrote something about it. I wanted to collect my thoughts and really understand what I was feeling.
What surprised me almost as much as the break-in was my initial reaction to it. I was scared, afraid, and I felt violated, but I looked up at Brian, still shivering, and said, "Isn't it sad that things are so bad in town that someone felt like they had to do this?"
My compassion surprised me, and to be honest, still does. Many of my friends were madder about it than I was. In fact, I never really got mad. But again, that's not true. When the police officer said it was probably a meth head doing a random smash and grab, I was angry that we hadn't outlawed pseudoephedrine.
As I'm writing this, I just heard the third police car go down the street, in the last 15 minutes. I've lived in a lot of places, I think this semirural, small-town with a population of 17,135 in a County with a population of 43,082 has more problems than anywhere else I've ever lived.
I am often faulted for my belief that most if not every problem has a spiritual solution, but in the years we've lived here you can feel the spirit of the community dying. The population is aging. Young people can't wait to leave. There's little if anything to do, and the ubiquitous conservative pessimism kills hope.
If we would be honest with ourselves, that's why someone kicked the door into my house. If times are hard, and there's no hope for a better tomorrow, why would anyone around here try to build one?
My mom's first reaction was that she wished I had a gun. My first reaction was that I wished better for the person who did it. That doesn't make me a better person. It just means that I took to heart what Jesus said in Matthew 5:43– 48, "You have heard it said, 'you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say unto you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be the sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore, you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
That doesn't make me a better Christian, just one that actively practices my faith. I like candles during Metta practice. I do the Holy Light meditations. I truly believe that compassion is the primary act and mission of faith.
What I must do now is figure out better ways to teach, share, and show compassion in the community. While continuing to pray and meditate for a better future, I need to be more active in finding ways to bring it about.
This is the work to which we are all called. I just wish it hadn't taken someone kicking my door in to show me how much work needs to be done.