Saturday, July 17, 2010

Something of Value

Since the burglary, I've spent hours searching. First I had to search the house to identify what had been stolen. Then I set off on a seemingly endless soul-searching trek. My advice to myself: When life sends you a lesson, make a lesson plan. It looked like my lesson referred to materialism, and I beat myself up about my attachment to things. I tried to convince myself that I would be a better person if I didn't replace the stolen items. As I grieved over my trinkets and treasures I didn't feel better or wiser; I felt vulnerable, lost, disillusioned, and spiritually impoverished.

When the police detective asked about the extent of our loss, I quoted the prices of the laptop and MP3 player, but I told him that my jewelry wasn't worth much beyond sentimental value.

In the days following the police report, I had to search my memory to come up with an accurate inventory for our insurance claim. Some of the memory jolts stung like a physical blow -- my grandmother's Bavarian crystal necklace, my dad's high school class ring, the Turkish puzzle ring Fred gave me 43 years ago. I had carried these bits and pieces with me all my life and around the world. The hole in my spirit deepened with each addition to the list.

Before my inventory was complete, our insurance claims adjuster asked me for an approximate figure for the jewelry. I couldn't answer. "Would it be less than $2500?" he asked. I felt relieved to reply in all honesty, "No doubt."

Being the person that I am, I entered my inventory in an Excel worksheet. REPLACEMENT VALUE: GRAND TOTAL =SUM(E1:E91). I compressed my lips between my teeth and pushed ENTER. The dollar amount confirmed my growing suspicion: my jewelry had been worthy after all! In a font as clear as Arial Bold my lesson spelled out its meaning. To validate it, I went to my Native American Medicine Deck, shuffled, and drew one card:

"The key word is respect. Learn to assert, without ego, what you are. Respect follows. You must first respect yourself. Walk tall and be proud of the accomplishments you have made."

I take this to heart. My loved ones have told me often enough that I undervalue my talents and accomplishments, just as I had undervalued my jewelry collection. At the end of this search that began with a burglary, I've found a reminder that I am indeed something of value. Now I'm gathering courage to strut my stuff. Maybe I'll check out that interesting listing in New Mexico Kids! Magazine and learn how to beat my own drum -- or start gathering music for the lullaby CD I've dreamed of making. I want to reach out beyond my boundaries, just to see what's there.

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