Monday, November 18, 2013

What the thieves gave me

A few weeks ago I was followed and mugged by two guys with a screwdriver on the street near my house in South Africa. I was pretty lucky actually. I wasn’t carrying my whole purse, so I only lost my iPhone, my debit card, and my license. And most importantly, even though I struggled with them, I wasn’t really physically hurt.

Initially I thought it was just a matter of getting back on the horse again and moving on. I mean, I’d been through worse. I’d been through a violent break-in in Tanzania with machetes, which left our security guard hanging on to life, another staff member badly injured, our safe empty, and one staff member quite traumatized after being held hostage and told to take them to the white women, which was me and my friend who were hiding in our rooms. I’d been in stuck in a kombi in the middle of a violent mob. And I’d even been mugged once before with some friends, but hadn’t lost anything. So getting mugged like this shouldn’t have been that big a deal really. But somehow I couldn’t seem to shake that feeling of uneasiness.

I would walk through the grocery store and hear someone behind me and whip around expecting to see the thieves again. Walking through the mall which used to be the most relaxing part of my week was suddenly stressful. There were just too many people around and it was impossible to relax. I ended up moving out of my house because two more people were mugged right near my house and after being followed, walking back and forth to the base with my computer and all was a risk I just wasn’t willing to take. I couldn’t sleep through the night because I’d lay in bed replaying the situation again and again thinking about what I could’ve done, what I should’ve done. And then suddenly I'd see it all over again and my heart would seize up in my chest and I literally couldn’t breath. It turned my life upside down.

At first, all I could think about was how much the thieves took from me - my phone, my ability to drive, my peace to walk alone, my house, my sleep, my freedom.

But these past two weeks after traveling to Europe for a little break with my brother’s family, I’ve started to think about it again and I’ve realized just how much the thieves actually gave me.

They gave me simplicity that comes with pairing down my life again to fit in a little room.

They gave me a better iPhone since someone offered to buy me a new and better one!

They gave me new adventures in new places with new friends. 

They gave me good showers, good food, a good bed, and Starbucks. 

They gave me cuddles with my adorable nieces. 

They gave me freedom again as I wondered alone at night around beautiful European cities. 

They gave me rest for two weeks of holiday at my brother’s.

They gave me fall. 

And they gave me hope and possibility in my heart once again.

Sometimes I still get that momentary panic when I see the situation in my head again or when someone passes a little too close or when I find myself alone on an empty street, but when I sit down and count my blessings I realize that the thieves gave me far more than they could've ever taken.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...