Well. It's been a week here.
Monday afternoon, while my husband and I were waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for his nephrology appointment at the University of Michigan Hosptial, there was quite a bit of excitement going on at our house.
Apparently, two men drove a battered white Escort into our driveway, walked around the back of our house, bashed down the back door, came inside and walked out with our 47 inch screen television, both of our laptop computers and both of our digital cameras. They likely would have taken more (like some of the jewelry on my dresser or the cash in my desk) had one of our neighbors not come out onto his driveway and spotted them, at which point they jumped into the car and took off. He called the police of course, who came forthwith. Very soon there were evidence officers inside our house dusting for fingerprints, while patrol officers tried to track down the vehicle (of course, to no avail).
By the time we got home, it was all over but the shouting.
My shouting, that is.
Bad as it is, there is much to be thankful for in this situation. Both the dogs were at my mother's, so they weren't involved or hurt in any way. Other than the broken garage door, there was not one bit of damage to the inside of my house - as a matter of fact, everything was eerily undisturbed. Were it not for the dusty patches were the television and computers were sitting, you would never know anyone had been inside.
But I'm shouting nevertheless.
I have to confess, I'm a bit disturbed by the depth of anger and hatred I feel right now. Those of you who know me personally, and even those who know me only by my words, would likely describe me as a gentle soul, someone who cares about others, perhaps even someone who wouldn't hurt a flea, as the old saying goes.
Until Monday, I would have described myself that way as well. But right now, I'm so damn mad that I can hardly see straight. I'm a person who has spent her whole life trying to do the right thing, working hard, living by the rules. The nice things I have - the tv sets, the computers, the cameras - those are things I've worked for and earned. And nobody - NOBODY - has the right to take those from me. I don't care how underpriveleged you are, I don't care if your parents beat you or abuse you, I don't care if you were born addicted to crack cocaine, I don't even care if you're homeless and hungry.
You don't get to break down my door and come into my house and take my stuff.
So right now, this gentle soul who can't bear to look when her husband kills a spider or a fly, who was sick to her stomach the one time she hit a squirrel with her car, this same person is fantasizing with great satisfaction about pointing a nine millimeter pistol at those intruders and blowing them to bits, splattering their ignorant brains all over the sidewalk.
Wow. Scary, isn't it?
What's even scarier is the way that violence begets violence, the way even the best of us can be turned in an instant into someone filled with hate and anger, someone we don't even recognize when we look in the mirror. There is just so much injustice, and unreasonableness, and trouble in this world we live in, I marvel that any of us makes it through the day without being overcome by anger. We go through the motions and hold all the uneasiness at bay, suppressing our emotions with platitudes, when really we're nearly consumed with turmoil. And yet deep inside it festers away until one day something causes it to overflow and we're lost.
My anger may eventually fade. I may just be in one of the "stages" crime victims inevitably travel through as they come to terms with the way they've been violated and the things they have lost. Then again, it might be that an indelible mark has been left on my soul, that the gentle person I once was has been stolen away, has disappeared into the night along with my possessions.
And that would be the greatest loss of all.