Stolen Time

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There are countless things that you have stolen. Both tangible and intangible. Things you cannot ever give us back. Sentimental gifts. Did you know that the car that you stole formally belonged to my husband’s grandmother? She is no longer alive. The spare key that you took from my purse hung from the very keychain that Grandma Ryan used. A stuffed whale. As silly as that Florida keychain was, it held value. It held meaning. It used to be held in a woman’s hands that no longer walks this earth.

I keep beating myself up. Replaying the night before. I wish I wouldn’t have left my purse in my car. In my driveway. I wish I could change what happened. But, it’s not my fault. It’s actually all yours. I will not allow myself to be an accomplice to the crimes you committed. I have had several imaginary conversations with you. My son surprised me and walked into the room just the other day and asked me what I was talking about. I was talking sternly to you. You can’t imagine how badly I want to look you in the eye and tell you about all of the short-fused moments and interactions you have caused our family over the past week. I want to tell you how many hours I’ve spent canceling credit card accounts, memberships, and bank accounts. You will never be able to give me back my time. Ever. And ironically enough, you may, one day, have all the time in the world. Sitting in prison.

Have you ever worked so hard for something? Maybe to learn how to do something. And you finally figured it out. After hours and hours. Or have you ever had to fill out paperwork for something? Have you ever waited in line for something so painfully long? Have you ever worked for hours and hours without ever getting to take a break to even go to the bathroom? Or eat dinner. Because I have. I have earned my paychecks. I have earned them with constantly running around during a busy twelve hour shift.  And I have continued to earn my paycheck as I have spent countless hours off the clock thinking about the horrendous situations I experience at work. I didn’t need you to help teach me the cruel lesson on how life can be unfair sometimes.

Unexplainable things happen in this world. Unexpected sickness. Fatal accidents. Children dying. Kind decent people have awful, hurtful things happen to them. And you’re making the conscious decision to perpetuate this lesson. You wrongfully steal from others what is not yours. You’re a thief. A robber. A criminal. A black cloud. You provide living proof that bad stuff happens for no explainable reason.

I don’t know you, but I have no respect for you.

I feel sorry for your mom.

You’re a sad, selfish person.

So, here’s what you can do. You know, to make up for all of the time and money that we’ve lost because of your poor choices. I’ll tell you what I care about the most in this world. Kids. I have young children who for the past week keep saying things like,

“I wonder why somebody would do that.”

Or a week after you walked up our driveway and drove away in my husband’s car, my six year old sons say,

“If we find dad’s car, let’s keep it a surprise. Then we will give it to him for his birthday and say, “Surprise! We found your car.”

They have been scared to go to sleep by themselves. Because of you.

Such innocence. Innocence that you corrupted. Yet, another thing you can’t give us back. Fortunately, they haven’t experienced too many people like you in their short lives. Their little minds just can’t grasp why somebody would break the window to our van and steal our stuff. Leaving a broken mess of glass in our driveway and a horrible feeling of violation. Trapped in our minds.

You probably know a few kids. You may just be a big kid yourself. I’m pretty certain that there are some younger kids who may look up to you and may think you are worthy of imitation. They may want to be like you. The way that you can help make right some of the wrong that you’ve caused is to stop. Think about the people you are violating. I think if you worked really, really hard for a paycheck and had it stolen from you, then you may understand the hurt, the pain, the frustration and anger that you cause. The stolen time.

It’s a simple solution. You need to say sorry for all that you’ve done. And you need to mean it. Really mean it. And you need to change. Be better. Stop stealing. Work to change lives for better. Not worse.

Think of all of the pain and unfairness you’ve caused. Think of what you’ve wrongfully stolen from hard-working people. You get to carry this heavy load that you now own as a reminder to be different. Robber. Thief. Criminal. These are titles you’ve sadly earned. But, I believe that you can learn from your mistakes. I believe in forgiving you. I believe you can change. So, do it.

Think about all of the time you’ve stolen from others. And try to give it back. It’s the least you can do. And the most you can do.

I’ll be praying for you and your family by name. Now that I’ve received that.

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