The things that mean the most

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Last week, on a sunny afternoon in broad daylight, someone tried to unlawfully enter my home. My first reaction was analytical. I studied the scene like I was crime scene investigator, and I made mental notes about the point of intended entry and the evidence that supported the attempted access. The following morning while giving my statement to the police, I even pointed out a few details the investigating officer had overlooked. The trespasser clearly struggled for the proper footing and was only able to open the window a couple of inches before they gave up. They were unsuccessful at gaining access, so nothing in my house had been touched.

Hours later, as the emotional ramifications of the failed break-in saturated my delicate sensibilities, I had a complete meltdown. I don’t swear much on this blog, but I’m not going to lie, I was fucking mess. If the person attempting to break into my house had been successful, I would potentially have been face to face with that person in my house upon arriving home from work. I don’t think that reality will be lost on me for the foreseeable future.

After a good cry, I slept surprisingly well, albeit on my couch. Since the intruder tried to gain entry through my bedroom window, I’m not sure how many nights will have to pass before I have the courage to sleep in my bed again. I have repurposed the white boards I have for my writing to cover my living room windows since I do not have any window coverings, and as I write this post, I feel like I am in my bunker, ready to defend my home. I repressed the reality of the violation of my privacy and replaced my fear with anger. I have a metal pole near me at all times, ready to be wielded against anything I deem as a threat. I am now an emotionally unbalanced Rambo, self-confined in a small space, and irrationally bothered by the sound of the hail currently hitting my windows.

But I’ll be honest. Each time I pass my bedroom and look at the torn screen, and the mangled frame of that screen, my anger is being slowly replaced by a bit of empathy for the person who brazenly attempted to break into my house in the middle of the day. I don’t have expensive things. My six-hundred square foot home is filled with things of great value to me, but would not be worth much to anyone else, and I am grateful none of my precious possessions were damaged. But I can’t help but think, what if the person who struggled to break into my house has nothing.

As I process my emotions through the cathartic practice of writing, I know I have riches beyond the measure of anything that holds a monetary value. So many of my friends and family shared their support and concern, and that is worth so much more than anything that can be bought or sold. Their words confirmed that I am richer for having them all in my life. Sometimes it takes a disconcerting event to remind you of the things that mean the most.

A non-felonious state of mind

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“There are two types of people in the world.  Those who waste time staring at a closed door and those who find a window.” ~ Phil Dunphy, Modern Family

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I love watching Modern Family and as soon as I heard this quote I immediately thought of my dad.  It wasn’t because he was the eternal optimist, although he was.  It was because he took this quote to a whole new level of reality about twenty-five years ago.

My dad sold real estate and he was regarded by many in his field to be one of the best.  The man could sell ice cubes to Polar Bears.  So when a family of five decided they wanted to purchase a cottage in Muskoka, my dad went out of his way to find the perfect place.  He had heard of a property that was being listed, but not yet officially on the market, and he knew it would be their Utopia.  The lake frontage was stunning, the view was incredible and the neighborhood had the promise of only increasing in value.

They ventured en masse to see the property and, because it had not been officially listed, they were unable to access the cottage itself….until my dad spotted the open window.   He would never be able to convince the family of the charm that cottage possessed unless they were able to see the entire property, inside and out.  The wheels in his head began to turn and his eyes finally fell on the youngest of the three children.  With sufficient cajoling and a little effort, the couples’ youngest son was boosted up and sent through the open bathroom window.  Moments later he appeared at the front door to, just as illegally, let the rest of the family enter what would eventually become their family cottage.

break and enter

(image credit)

That closed door meant nothing to my dad.  It only took a few moments for him to realize that portal was not his only option.  If he had let himself be constrained by his perceived reality, that cottage would never have been bought by this family.  His perseverance and willingness to think outside of that boxed-in door led him to that open window, the sale of a beautiful cottage and the happiness of a family.

As it turns out, that relatively innocent “break and enter” would have much more of an impact on me, when years later their daughter and I would meet while working in the same pub and become best friends.

You are never stuck in a situation because the door seems to be closed.  And although you think that door may be the only way in or out, look for that open window.  It’s there somewhere.