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  • Lindsey Van Wagner

Letter to a Thief

On Sunday my backpack was stolen out of my friend’s car while we were hiking. I have already prayed, done yoga, talked to my sister, shared about it in an AA meeting. So now, I write. This is how I exhale. It helps me to organize my thoughts and to better understand what is in front of me. It also puts it out there and in to the Universe, letting it land where it may. So while I originally started this as a therapeutic exercise, I thought others might appreciate it. Maybe YOU have been in this situation before. We don’t always have to be writing about huge, brilliant concepts and magnificent, life-altering events - sometimes the magic lies in the mundane.

I wrote a hypothetical letter to the ROBBER who stole from me. The letter idea started as a joke because this mystery person now has the keys to my cottage. I told my friend (who is insisting I change my locks) that I think a note on the front door daring the robber to come in would do just fine as a security measure. And so it goes...


Dear Robber,


It’s me, Lindsey, one of the people you stole from over the weekend. I know that I probably don’t matter to you, but you definitely matter to me. I want to start by saying Sorry. I am sorry that you are in this place in your life that you have to, or at least feel like you have to, steal from others. Is it satisfying to you? Do you sleep well at night? Do you really need the money or is it more of a game? I just have questions. If you really were in need, and you asked me straight up, we may have been able to work something out.


When you noticed my driver's license, with my photo, I wonder if you thought about my reaction to all of this or how it would affect me. Did that cross your mind when you saw my smiling face? That you were doing this to an actual person with a life? Did it make you feel bad, even if just for a second? Don't worry, I will try not to think of you while I am gritting my teeth at the DMV waiting for my replacement driver's license.


The Burt’s Bee’s lip balm and hand creme were part of a gift set from my cousin for my birthday. Isn’t that strange to have someone else’s LIP BALM? It just all feels so personal and violating. Like, you also have my dog’s water bottle that he has had for many years. It was given to him on his birthday by one of my friends. Are you even going to use it? Maybe you have a dog too.


By the way, that backpack you stole - I have had it since I was 14 - I used it throughout high school and college. You must have seen the "LINZ" embroidered on it! Is it weird to have other people's stuff around your house? I would imagine that would feel kind of gross. I mean it feels disgusting that someone else has MY stuff right now (if you were at all wondering how I am feeling).


You got a lot of cash from me - I know it was my fault to have it all in one place but I just wasn’t thinking I would be robbed, alright? Generally, I try to trust people. Part of that wad of cash you now have is the money I earned over the past few weeks teaching yoga. It is all donations from my students because my class is free. You are welcome to come. Actually, please come. It might do you some good.


And man oh man, did you hit the jackpot with that Amazon gift card! If you are wondering about that, it was a gift from some of my professors thanking me for being a teacher’s assistant. I do that for free too. I was VERY proud of this gift and it was fulfilling to receive that token of appreciation. Are you going to use the Amazon money for yourself? What are you going to buy? OR maybe you will give it to someone for Christmas.


I don’t really care about the material aspect of this little stunt you pulled - I mean yeah money is tight right now and that part sucks, but what is more important to me is that people gave me these things for specific reasons and there is sentimental value in that. I feel careless and stupid to have let this stuff go. It feels like I was being disrespectful. (Funny that I am blaming myself, right? Thanks for that.)


Nevertheless, I actually do want to thank you for a few lessons you have taught me...


A.) I was unpleasantly reminded that feeling attachment to things and stuff and property is a lost cause. Things do not matter. What matters is that I am alive and healthy and breathing. You can’t take away the best parts of me - they’re all on the inside. For example, my integrity (you might want to look up that word next time you are in the presence of a dictionary), which is why I will continue to build my inner strength every day.


B.) I want to have a deeper respect for money. I have known this for a while, but you really brought it to light. Gone are the days where I will haphazardly carry cash and gift cards around like it is nothing. I thought I was being organized by having everything in one place, but now I will think twice before leaving valuables out in the open.


C.) IWAWO - back to my mantra. "It will all work out." These things happen to everyone. I have a lot of good things in my life and it was just my turn for a shitty day. I was reminded of the question: “Will this matter to me five years from now?” NO, it won’t. We keep going and we do what we need to do to put things back together. Life goes on. It will all be okay and it will all work out.


So I am trying to learn these lessons from you. I'll have you know that the past couple of nights I prayed for you. I prayed to not feel resentment toward you. I wished you health and happiness. I said, "Take away my anger and show me love." Even though I don’t understand it, I am trying to forgive you. I am trying to not feel like a victim. I appreciate the things I do still have and I am grateful that nobody got hurt. Well, nobody got hurt but YOU. I mean because You must be hurting right now. I don’t know why someone would do something like this unless they are in a lot of pain. So I hope you figure things out.


One last thing. You took my running shoes. And I am all out of wack now because moving my body outside is one of the things that keeps me sane. So if you are at my front door reading this right now, I DARE you to use the keys you stole - from me - to get into my house. I fucking dare you.


Love,

Linz


(Yes I still have love and yes I think we are now on nickname terms, SIR.)


P.S. / Fyi - When things break me, they don’t break me down, they break me open. The light comes in a little bit more so that I can shine and spread more love and light to the world. So thanks for another opportunity to learn and to become even stronger than I already was.


I got nothin but love for ya brother (...or sister, who knows).


Peace.

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