When I think of things that are stolen, I picture cat burglars & jewels, like Cary Grant opposite Grace Kelly. Smooth, sleek, smart & debonair. Or the murder mystery heist: blood pooling under the pajama-wearing master of the house, shadows stark along the floor… and yet, other ‘things’ are stolen that are less visible, less quantifiable.
When children are made to witness violence in their home we steal their innocence, if not their physical safety. We steal something from little girls when we make them feel dirty if they don’t cover up their naked bottom and yet encourage the sexy little outfits they wear. We take boys and teach them to stuff their feelings and live tough, robbing them of their vulnerability. We steal trust from one another when we lie to save face or get out of something. We let the police and NSA steal our human rights with their search and seizure tactics and profiling tendencies where innocent people are treated as guilty until they prove they aren’t; an upside down version of our constitution.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
So. My first thoughts of things being stolen involve actual objects; things like my mom’s bike from the Safeway parking lot, or the bikes off the van in San Fran, or the ‘stealers’ in the forest, invading our van home, taking mostly worthless but sentimental objects and thus violating our safe space and our children’s hearts. The stories are certainly there, fresh and full of feeling.
Then my mind goes deeper, on to more subversive thieves; those after our loving hearts, our trusting minds, who leave fear and doubt in their wake. Those who burgle our children’s trust have a more insidious effect; more difficult to recognize and impossible to retrieve. A trusting child is worth more than a bicycle and so much more difficult to replace.