Last Friday our car was stolen.
We were out for dinner in a safer area of Durban and when we returned to where we parked… it was gone. Obviously of greatest importance is that no one was hurt. And we are very thankful for that. There were some other “up sides” to it as well. All of us have started many sentences since with, “At least…” (we didn’t have the passports/cameras/Elsa Ruth’s doll/the violins/iPad …etc.etc.)
But it is also ONE BIG HEADACHE! The keys and remotes to open our home, security gates, and garage were inside. (If you saw the security post you know why we don’t carry that big thing around with us!) Amy’s wallet was in the glove compartment. (Unfortunately that included credit cards, cash, and maybe worst her driver’s license -required to drive a car or obtain a rental here). There are the inconveniences related to replacing things and claiming the car with insurance. “And how will we get back to Pietermaritzburg when we can’t rent a car without showing our passports which are back there!?” But let’s not belabor the difficulties any more than necessary!
How are the children? I know you’re wondering that and we’re thinking about that a lot too. There was an initial panicky time during the confusion of contacting authorities, calling the hotel about the lost room key, separating while Scott waited for the police and we got a ride back to the hotel. And we’ve all been rattled, anxious, worried, and down at various moments since. But on the whole, we each seem to be taking it in stride.
Scott and I discovered that we had each independently been drawing on the wisdom of Mr. Rogers’ mom that first day: “Look for the helpers.” His video about this circulated the internet some years ago in response to a national tragedy I believe. It’s a simple idea but powerful, and one that stuck with us both.
This wise advice has been a guide in consoling ourselves and in parenting the kids through this. There have been plenty of helpers to notice – people who made calls or commiserated. Complete strangers offered and gave rides, and one even urged that we borrow his vehicle for the weekend! There were the friends who provided transport and then brought pizza, wine, chocolate and fellowship at dinner when we made it back to Pietermaritzburg.
I sense how easily bitterness, fear, suspicion, and resentment could creep in. But focusing on the helpers is one way to keep that at bay.
It’s not a post I wanted to write – but I do want to keep honest here about what is happening in our part of the world. We are grateful for the helpers we encountered in this instance. May we each have the courage to step up when it is our turn. Just think, more than the benefit of the help offered the act may be the key to someone’s long term healing.