Writing this post is probably going to be good therapy for me. Today is one of those days when even I am having a hard time putting a positive spin on things. But, as I sit here and pray about what to write, I can see that there is happiness in today’s news; I just have to look at it through a different lens.
This has been a good week at Happiness Hills. The chickens have enjoyed their pellets and plenty of compost, and the random black cat that sometimes shows up and bullies our cats out of their rightful food has apparently been off terrorizing someone else. We have all eaten well and have participated in lots of fun activities, mostly centered around dance and snow.
When we stopped by the Barn to feed the cats on the way to church this morning, Alfredo said, “Look at the Barn door.” My heart sank and I felt sick. Just like before, the lock was missing. Just like before, the tool room door was open, and the lock cut. The whole place smelled of gasoline, which we discovered upon closer examination was because the gas had been siphoned out of both our large mowers. There were a lot of things missing. Just like before. Back in early December, Alfredo got a call from the man in charge of framing at our house site, asking where we had hidden all of our windows and doors. We hadn’t hidden them. There were tracks in the mud from the truck that had come through the field and hauled them off, though. Then, on the morning of Christmas Eve, we arrived at the Barn to find doors wide open with all of our locks broken and thousands of dollars’ worth of tools and equipment gone. And now, today.
We can be thankful for the obvious things, and have been told all day to be thankful for them by well-meaning commenters on Facebook, etc. At least no one was hurt. At least we have insurance. At least the security cameras we installed took photos of last night’s activity. Of course we are thankful for those things. But right now, we’re also really, really angry and really, really discouraged, and that sort of overshadows the “at leasts.”
As I prayed about this blog, though, I realized there is a bigger, happier thing happening in this situation. Alfredo called our pastor this morning to let him know we wouldn’t be teaching our Sunday School classes because we’d be walking around with a State Trooper. The pastor asked the whole church to pray, and they did. And still are. We called some friends and asked for help to put things back together on the property, and they came through. Another friend helped install a floodlight, and calmed Alfredo’s nerves a bit through his presence and conversation. A few other friends volunteered to camp out onsite and be on guard duty. Another couple of friends are installing more security cameras. And everyone, without exception, has made us feel loved and supported. We have heard time and again today how upset people are that anyone would do something like this to our family; that the thieves must not know anything about us and the work we do in our community; that it takes a real low-life to steal from people who do so much to help others. Honestly, I didn’t know before today that people thought those nice things about us. I knew they thought those nice things about my parents, but I didn’t know we had entered that category. And that means more to me than all the well-meant “at leasts” people can throw at me.
I would rather that it hadn’t taken a series of thefts for me to know that people appreciate and notice our character. I think I’ll be much more intentional about people whose character I admire, letting them know what I think of them before something happens that leaves them feeling alone and vulnerable. There were a few people that I knew I could call today, who would proactively find ways to help us. I want to be one of those people for my friends, and for my community. Because, ultimately, the only way we can stop the kind of activity we’ve been victimized by (as have many other farms in our valley) is to be those people for each other, every day.
My family and I will find happiness in feeling the safety net of our friends, who are committed enough to rally around us when we need help. We will find happiness in investing in building a community of safety around us in our valley, so that this stops happening to any of us. We will find happiness in the fact that even though our justice system is extremely flawed and crimes like these go so often unpunished, our hope is in Christ, who is our Savior and Deliverer, who knows and sees all, and whose judgment is perfect. To Him be all the glory, for in Him is joy, peace, love, and eternal life. And that’s happy news!