The greater concerns of purse-snatching
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It’s funny how we process hard providences. Ever since I made a contribution to rising crime rates, I’ve had a letter rolling around in my head. It goes something like this:
Dear Young Man Who Stole My Purse at City Park,
Hi. In the midst of the “incident,” I don’t believe we were properly introduced. Yeah, yeah, I understand you already know my name, my address, my checking account number, and my penchant for fruit-flavored Tic Tacs. What you don’t know is that I saw you there, walking past the line of cars. I watched you weave in and out around the fence and suddenly appear on the very playground equipment I was standing beneath, the one with the winding metal tower and bridge and all that.
For sure and for certain, I saw you, out of place among playground players half your height and twice as giddy. You were out of place, but not out of bounds. Still, culture instinct caused me to ease back over from the line of swings to where my pile of stuff was sitting there on the pea gravel. You saw the pile, right? The black purse you took off with and the $600 camera you left behind, the tub of crayons and the illustrated Bible story book. If you’d been there just 15 minutes earlier, you could have heard all about the Tower of Babel. My grands like that one a lot.
So I’m standing guard over my stuff when I really start to see you—the long sleeves (it’s 90 degrees) and the long legs and the long, untied shoe strings. I’m guessing you’re about 15, and you’re guessing you could fool me with those knee raises you started doing. You were right.
Because it was about that time that I started this internal debate. I scolded my profiling self: “He’s just a kid doing some kind of workout. Stop being so suspicious. You don’t want to live like that.”
That’s when I walked away from my pile and every bit of the left side of my brain, which is the logical side, in case you haven’t covered that in school yet. You remember my grandguy, the one you waved to? Well, he was doing something noteworthy over by the climbing ledge, and I just had to snap a picture with my phone.
But you probably know all that.
And in the words of the late singer Ernest Tubb, the Texas Troubadour himself, “that’s all she wrote.” My black abyss of a handbag with the loose grommet and my only key fob was gone—a prize to your patience, and a penalty to my mine.
I hear you made an impressive jump over the fence and skedaddled by the tennis courts. A kind maintenance guy on a mower attested to those facts, as well as an even kinder Miss G. She saw the whole scene and the ones preceding it from where she sat on a bench in the shade, reading a 4-inch-thick King James Bible. Unlike me, she kept the left side of her brain operational when you came close. No internal debates. She simply moved her purse out of your reach. Wise lady, that Miss G. We both agreed purses weren’t the problem, though. Your thieving was the result of something that happened in a different parklike setting millennia ago.
I wanted to tell you all that and one more thing. What happened at the park, well, God has a way of making something good out of something bad. Later that day I was talking with my grandchildren—the ones on the swings you smiled and waved at just before you decided to commit larceny—and I told them we needed to pray for you.
One of the 4-year-olds made a face and asked why. I managed to keep my answer pretty simple: “Jesus told us to pray for those who mistreat us.” And we did.
You see, young man, there’s a greater concern here than the police report (it was filed) and credit card accounts (they’re closed.) I can get over losing what was left on the gift cards from Christmas, and I will buy another pair of reading glasses, another lipstick, and another digital recording microphone that sticks into my iPhone. It’s pretty cool, huh?
Yes, there’s a greater concern here, and it’s you. You were made for something better than stealing purses, and if by some great providence you want to talk with me about what that means, I think you know where to find me.
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