So last week, our house in New Jersey was robbed. In 22 years, I had only been robbed once and that was by a Sears contractor (beware of workers in your house!). This was a full-blown robbery.
I suppose I should be more upset by this. They stole almost all of my jewelry, a laptop, a 5-gallon jug of coins from the past eight years, our passports, a camera, etc.
But I’m not upset.
Not really. Or, rather, not by what is gone. Those things can (sorta) be replaced.
What bothers me is that people steal. Period.
I work hard for a living. Marc works even harder. Cat, also, works extremely hard. It angers me that people just think it’s ok to violate your privacy and take things. It’s the attitude of stealing that bothers me. And it’s everywhere.
What makes people adopt a “you have more—I want more—so I’m just taking your stuff” attitude?
Isn’t that an attitude that is very prevalent today? Everyone wants MORE and they want it NOW. But fewer and fewer people are willing to work for it. When did our society decide that more equals success? The more you have, the more you have to lose. The more you have, the more you have to work to sustain/maintain it. People want more, but they don’t think of the ramifications of actually having more.
I suppose I’m becoming the opposite. I want LESS. Less stuff (which I suppose those robbers just helped me with…#sarcasm). Less clutter. Less headaches.
Perhaps that’s why I love the Amish so much. They don’t acquire things just for the sake of having them. Everything has a purpose. Sure, some of the young adults might decorate their buggies or buy Englische clothing, but they quickly learn that it doesn’t fulfill them. Not enough, anyway, to leave the community in order to have those things.
The Amish do not try to out-do each other. There is no “my farm is bigger than your farm” or “my crops are better than yours” or “I quilt better than you do.” I love to hear the Amish respond to compliments. You often read this response in my books:
Me: Oooooo, Lizzie, you have the prettiest flowerbeds!
Lizzie: (pause…looks at the flowerbeds) Well, I don’t suppose they are any better than someone else’s.
So humble. Not even a THANK YOU because that would be seen as prideful…an acknowledgment of the compliment that sets her apart from others. Instead, she brings it back to a way of complimenting everyone.
Bringing this back to the people who robbed us. They took what wasn’t theirs because, for them, it’s easier to steal from people than to live an honest life. They looked at my house and thought “They have more so let’s take it from them.” I’m sure they sold our things for a fraction of the value, probably to buy drugs because I’m fairly certain they weren’t stealing our things so that they could buy food, shelter, education, furniture, utilities, etc.
It’s an interesting lesson for me. The things they stole are remnants of my former life…one where I did have more things than I needed. While that doesn’t give them the right to take them, it does give me the right to reflect upon not just what they took but how I will replace those items. Some things are irreplaceable…a ring from my mother, a bracelet from my parents, a necklace from when Alex was born,an anniversary gift from Marc. But other things need to be reconsidered. Do I really need more stuff? Will it make me happy or simply paranoid about being robbed again in the future?
You see, here’s a secret that I have learned in the past few years: more is not necessarily better. The truth is that having just enough is the real answer to happiness.