I awoke early this morning, a bit of a jolt from a pleasant dream. Jarred by the suddenness of the arrival of a new day I grieved briefly the loss of fancied hopes and reconstructed nocturnal images. Curious about the cause of this intrusion I threw back the woolen blankets, rose from my comfortable fetal pose, stretched my limbs, adjusted the thermostat and went to the kitchen to heat up the coffee I always make before retiring. But not before looking around at the room I refer to as The Print Room, so named for the print bins and framed collectables adorning the walls.
I had spent the better part of yesterday completing the task of turning an empty room into a work of art. That’s what I do. For a living I mean. Seeing the results of my work restored my senses. I pulled a sweatshirt over my head in defense of morning chill and padded in my stocking feet to the kitchen, looking around as I went, approving or disapproving of current arrangement of art and furnishings. On with the lights; what’s that?
While cleaning, unpacking and shelving I had moved the ceramic tray that holds the contents of my pockets during rest and REM time, lifting it from the red desk which once was a restaurant table in an ice-cream parlor, moving the tray now to the pub table in the kitchen. This large counter height table is the hub of all activities In the Lee Broom household which doubles as a home to Lee Broom Gallery and Design and to Oak Tree Publishing. Again, what’s that?
The first thing I notice whenever I enter my home is this center of multitask activities. This morning however, I immediately noted that one of the two wallets I had placed in the tray was now out of the tray and that it was open. Examining the contents I saw only business cards and a debit card. As I dealt with the empty feeling that occurred as my face became ashen and my knees threatened to take a nap, I realized that as I had gotten out of bed I’d heard a neighbor driving down the street near my back door. Neighbor? Burglar? I must have surprised the intruder; my wallet still contained a debit card, the other wallet (I carry two) was still filled with cash.
After coming to the conclusion that yes, it was not I who had mislaid the stack of hundred-dollar bills but a burglar who had gathered them as a farmer gathers wheat; I turned toward the back door which I had locked at day’s end; it was unlocked.
Damn it, I thought to myself; isn’t it enough that I had the accident three weeks ago that had left me helpless for a week or two or that I am now without a vehicle or that it seems that every private owner on Craigslist that had a vehicle that sounded so great in the ad turned out to be nothing more than a testament to the dishonesty of the liar before me, a car or truck owner without conscience who wanted only the insurance money in my pocket? Why this? What must I learn? Immediately I realized that my anger was foolishly being directed toward someone I did not know and that it if my anger was to be justified that it must be directed towards me.
With this awareness came compassion and forgiveness, first for the thief and then for the thief in me. I remembered taking office supplies home with me from work, stealing watermelons from the farm near our home when I was a child and automobile magazines from the rack at the corner drugstore during that same period in my life. And, as quickly as the blood had drained from my face moments earlier, my composure returned. I reported the incident to police and insurance carrier, called my daughter and two of my closest friends and shared my experience, strength and hope as well as a weakness or two.
And now I am sharing it with you.
(But why is the loss of an interrupted dream more important to me right now than the loss of a few thousand dollars?)