Friday, February 22, 2008

Wondering...

Well, it's not a secret I had my wallet stolen out of my bag (which was hanging off Bryn's stroller) in the middle of Safeway today. Besides losing all my ID and bank cards and concession cards etc. I also had $800 in that wallet. It was payday, and as per usual I'd taken out the daily limit of my account - because I like to avoid withdrawal fees by only make keeping withdrawals under 6 per fortnight.

Anyway, I've told all and sundry about this terrible thing that happened today. This thing that left me feeling somewhat violated but also really upset because we're struggling financially atm...

I received lots of sympathy and well wishes and I know that a number of people were prepared to chip in to make sure my family had food, at least, this week, for which I'm extrememly grateful.

Something else though.

I've had quite a few people wish a good "come uppance" on the thief. I don't know why this has struck me as odd or even maybe a little offensive, but it has. I know I used to think that way as well. I dunno, I've come to think differently. I believe that for someone to do something like that to someone else, they must ALREADY be suffering, and having them suffer more will only ensure they lack of compassion for another person, it won't heal them and cause them to think twice before repeating the act in future.

The other thing is, I guess people who do treat other people poorly attract the same treatment in return, so wishing it on them is kind of redundant, and possibly even dangerous - because by wishing ill on others aren't we opening ourselves up to being treated the way we'd like to see others treated?

I dunno...

Something else was kind of comforting me today. What if the person who stole my wallet was truly desperate? What if, ordinarily, that person was a kind and thoughtful and honest person, but something completely life-altering has caused this behaviour. What if this person lost their job before Christmas, and couldn't give their kids anything in the way of a celebration, and was their child's birthday was coming up and they knew it would be another big disappointment for the 8 year old, and they'd been desperately trying to get a job but with no fixed address (because they fell behind on their rent and were evicted and are now living at different friends places from time to time) they couldn't get a job... What if that person would NEVER normally do something like this, but they just saw my wallet there, and in a moment of irrational desperation grabbed it.

What if, upon finding the money in the their, they treated their family to a dinner out and it brought some happiness to a family that has been miserable for the past few months, or they bought their 8 year old a bike for their birthday...

Could I really wish something horrible on that person?

I'm rambling and the truth is, the wallet was probably stolen by one of the many drug and/or alcohol addicted people in our area... But again, how did they come to be drug and alcohol addicted, and what kind of life do they have?

How lucky am I to have my family and our home, and to be able to go and have a cuppa in front of the tv. How lucky am I that Dave's parents can let us have the money we lost today, so we won't be evicted from our house for not paying the rent.

I lucky enough that I can't afford to wish something bad on a person I know nothing about...

9 comments:

Juniper said...

Well, I think it is *great* that you are feeling this way about the situation, it is certainly better than stewing on it and making yourself feel horrible and stressed about it (though I am sure you felt that way as well!).

quote "I guess people who do treat other people poorly attract the same treatment in return, so wishing it on them is kind of redundant, and possibly even dangerous "

I agree with this, hence my "Karma" comment. So I agree with you, I would *never* wish ill on someone regardless of what they did to me - not nice!

However, I have to say, re: your scenario of someone more desparate than you taking it - well, IMHO, that still doesn't make it right. I know I wouldn't steal someone's wallet, regardless of my financial circumstances, as it is just not right. How do you know that the person you stole from wasn't just as desparate as you (exactly what happened!)?

But, thinking like that can certainly help you feel better about the situation. I am not sure if just the fact that someone stole your wallet means that person was desparate financially, but I certainly think that *thinking* that way makes you (eg the victim, not you specifically) feel better.

Huge hugs Sif - what a shitty thing to have happen, at such a bad time!

Rae said...

I do often think like that when people do not so nice things to me as well. I just can't help it. Perhaps its my religious upbringing sticking around. It is an awful feeling though to have something taken from you. I wouldn't wish that feeling on anyone or as you said the desperation it would take to have to steal something from another person.

Nic,Beren & Freya said...

Yeah I agree, you have to wonder what desperate position you would have to be in to steal like that.

katef said...

I think it takes a lot of selflessness and respect for humans in general to be able to see past your own problems and not want to wish ill on someone else as a result. It can only be a good thing for you I say!

HipbubbyMama said...

I agree with you Sif. Some people truly are in desperate circumstances. Was chatting about this with my dad yesterday in one of his rare momne t of lucidity lol, and he was shocked to read an article in the paper about how familes are going without meals, due to not being able to afford to pay the rent AND eat. he was almost in tears! And I told him, that'd be us often if I didnt have a PT job and them (my parents) to help out. I am really lucky in that I have never been truly desperate, like some people are. It may have been an asshole who stole your wallet, or a junkie (though junkies are in a desperate situation too), but In any case, i think it's awesome of you to be able to look beyond your own hurt and show some empathy :)

Sif said...

Gosh, yeah, that probably brought back memories of the depression for your dad. I'd say, after WW2, when everyone seemed to be so properous (compared to the depression) people in your parents (my ILs) generation would have thought that something like the depression was not possible agaiin.

Truth is, even with things getting a lot worse for many families atm, it's really not as bad as the depression was, but I did see a segment on one of those morning shows about how a huge number of Australians are now homeless (of no fixed address) and how the welfare organisations are having to turn away something like a third of everyone who shows up looking for food etc. It's not good.

Meanwhile, the police seemed to think my thief was likely a Sudanese immigrant who has been on quite a wallet stealing spree recently. Considering where she has come from, I tend to feel that her own trauma is at the base of these actions. My mum also pointed out that the money she is trying to steal may not be for her, but so she can help other people in her family escape the atrocities and come to Australia. No stealing isn't right, but yes, I can see how people might be motivated to steal, feel they have no other choice.

Stephanie said...

Sif - that totally sucks about your wallet being stolen :( So glad the outlaws were able to help. You have a fantastic outlook and perhaps it was meant to be. Perhaps whoever stole was incredibly desperate and fate stepped in to help him/her and also make sure you guys were OK too. With the added benefit of perhaps feeling closer to the outlaws because of their generosity.

PlanningQueen said...

I think it's cool that you have taken the time to reflect a little further on what has happened to you (as frustrating and annoying as it must be for you). I can only think how much better things would be as a whole in this world, if we all did take the time to "put ourselves in their shoes" a little more often.

Sister Suffragette! said...

Bless you Sif.
I cried reading this. I think you're so right, and will remember your wisdom if I am ever robbed.

Teenagers and the failing parent...