Dear thieves who broke into my house, hosed my dog so he'd stay back and flooded the floors with water, stole my computer, my grandmother's silver, my grandfather's gold ring, my Kindle and a few other pieces of jewelry---
You must be desperate. I've stolen in my life. I've stolen food when I was homeless and poor. I've taken things that weren't mine for the taking.
I told a lot of people about the theft and their reactions were like this:
"I'm buying an alarm system for my house."
"I'm so sorry."
"Do you have motion lights?"
"Go to the pawn shops and or Craig's list and look for your stuff."
Dear thieves-Thank you for not hurting my dog or trashing the new walls or breaking windows. Both the katz are here and accounted for. Thank you for dropping a lot of jewelry in the driveway as you fled. Nothing valuable but gifts from friends. Thank you for reminding me how important it is to back up my computer. I have an external hard drive that I used as recently as May, hooray for me. Thank you for reminding me that my business is doing well enough to pay for another computer, and for that I'm grateful. Thank you for the opportunity to talk with my neighbors and to warm them to be safe and lock up.
The second precept encourages one to "refrain from taking that which is not freely offered." Apples on the ground are freely offered? Discuss amongst yourselves. The second precept also discusses generosity as the two go hand in hand.
Im my situation, what is being offered to me? Forgiving the thieves, who are probably between the ages of 11-17, according to the police who were here. Allowing myself to feel sad that I won't be passing along stuff from my maternal line to my children. It is just stuff, after all. Continuing to be generous in all the ways that I can. Generous with my time. Generous with my resources. Generous with my love. I hope I don't sound hopelessly naive. I'll still lock my doors. I'll consider hiding my computer when I leave the house. But I still need to forgive my younger desperate self the food I stole. And the unseen young (probably) men who entered my house, riffled my underwear drawer, and made away with some objects I was hoping to give to my children.
Those young men have learned to break and enter. What else will they learn as they grow up?