Monday, June 23, 2008

Why I'm Depressed

Yesterday after church, I stopped at the local Large Chain Bookstore to use one of my gift cards, and when I opened up my small billfold, it seemed strangely light. I realized that I had a twenty dollar bill and a few ones and that they were no longer in my billfold. Also, one of my credit cards was missing. I went through my billfold and found everything else that was supposed to be there -- was there.

I felt strangely unsettled the rest of the day. I looked through a few pockets and an extra bag I carry and didn't find anything. I remembered as well a couple of odd things about my office at church -- when I returned to my office after church, the door was locked but ajar, and there was a stray quarter on my desk, and another on the floor. I thought that was odd.

This morning, I called the the credit card company, and they informed me that there was no activity on the card. So maybe I had just mislaid the money and the card. It's been known to happen.

At about 5:00, though, I got a phone call. Someone had used my card at a gas station. That's what they do nowadays. To buy gas, you don't need an I.D. or even a signature. So I cancelled the card, and now I'm depressed. I keep telling myself, it's just a little bit of money. And then another part of me says, yeah, but every little bit helps. And I also hear my mother's voice, saying, You should be more careful with your things. So, along with everything else, I also feel a deep sense of shame.

This isn't the first time this has happened to me. Not long after I moved here, someone stole my billfold (which at that time contained my checkbook) and actually used two checks at a grocery store. This was also at church, while I was at an evening meeting. Another time, I was attending a church dinner, and someone stole my entire purse. Someone found it later in a nearby park. And yet another time (actually Christmas Eve two years ago) my credit cards were stolen during the Sunday morning service. I got a call the day after Christmas from the fraud department. I hadn't even realized they were gone.

While on internship, my billfold was stolen one day at the church I worked at. At that time, my biggest worry was actually my Drivers License. The good news in that case was that the police found my billfold and I eventually got it back.

And lest you think that this is just a church thing, I never had one problem with theft in all the years I spent in rural South Dakota. I also never had a problem while in college or Seminary. Not one. I did have small amounts of money stolen from my purse sometimes when I worked at a small office in downtown Minneapolis.

It all goes back, though, to the 8th grade: that year, my parents gave me my allowance and my lunch money every week, and for a few weeks in a row, someone stole the money from my purse, until I learned my lesson. Seems in some ways, I still haven't.

I ask you, why can't I take better care of my things?

20 comments:

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Oh, Diane. I hate that you are blaming yourself for being the victim in this. You have so many other things on your mind in your job that it's no wonder you don't keep track of your purse at every moment. Please forgive yourself for having other priorities than watching your money like a hawk.

FranIAm said...

Oh Diane - things happen, they just do and they suck.

I am so sorry. As Ruth says, try not to blame yourself.

I am just sorry that this happened to you.

Songbird said...

Oh, honey. This is not you! I'm so sorry you were targeted. (((Diane)))

Ivy said...

I too, am sorry for your misfortune. I would likely react the same way you have. But don't second guess yourself. God bless.

Katherine E. said...

May those old tapes STOP playing, Diane!! You are obviously a very responsible person...Heart hug to you!

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Just stopping by to check on you this morning and to send you a hug.

(((Diane)))

ProclaimingSoftly(PSanafter-thought) said...

You could only be partly to blame if you left your billfold on the dashboard of the car and left the windows open. But, really, in all cases, it "still takes a thief."

But it sounds like a locked drawer for your office is in order. I'm sure there could be other things that you might want to safeguard in the office at times as well.

The smart thief, especially when it is an inside job, takes only part of the money so the person questions his/her memory rather than whether the money was actually stolen. This is what happened with my mom's money at her assisted living. However, after a few times , my sister knew that the money was disappearing because it was all gone. Duh. I thought, why did Sis leave the money after the first suspicious time??? Usually the door is unlocked, but even when it is locked, all the staff can get in.

My son said that when he was in grade school, there was a boy in the community that would come into our church and go through purses left in the fellowship area. So it isn't necessarily a city thing.

CJWille said...

This hurts me terribly, not only for you but for the fact that it is occuring in OUR place of worship. It's like a two-fold slap. I wonder about our sense of community and accountability to each other....

Chorus said...

Diane! Let there be no more blaming of yourself for the criminal activities of the jerk-face who stole your credit card. NO MORE.

:)

Diane said...

I think this sort of thing makes me feel like I am back in the 8th grade again.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

diane quit whipping yourself! snap out of it! you are trusting and unfortunately the world is broken and sinful and the people in it even more so. even here in boonieville about 6 months ago, purses and wallets were stolen from vehicles during sunday morning worship... now that takes some nerve! what stings i expect is that your trust has been betrayed...

*sigh* make yourself a nice comforting cup of tea and put the whip away my friend...

Presbyterian Gal said...

Everyone has said it all so well. I'll just add, as a fellow "robbee"....

You must disconnect yourself from these acts. While it feels as if something of value was stolen from yourself, the fact is it was just some worldly pieces of illusion upon which we attach "value". There are procedures for dealing with the aftermath. And they are also, in God's world, valueless. Though we must do them to live responsibly.

If there were no more sinners, you'd be out of a job. Why not include this event in your sermon and ask your congregation to join you in praying for whoever stole these things?

((((Diane))))

Diane said...

Not bad, PG. It's true, and most of the time, I feel as you do, these are just "things." but still, I'd rather be able to add them to my savings rather than write them off.

Funky Grampa said...

Console yourself and lose the self blame.
After fifty years in parishes, in villages of five hundred to cities of five million, there is only one valid emotion.
A firm request to the trustees to install a small combination safe in your office and a sturdy locker in the choir room

zorra said...

(((Diane)))
Oh, I am so sorry. I think the feeling of violation and betrayal is worse than the actual loss. Please don't blame yourself.

steve said...

Hmm...so your parents tried to instill the lesson of responsibility by "stealing" your allowance, and you internalized the message that it's your fault if you "let" that kind of thing happen?

It sounds like they may have been well-intentioned, but made a poor choice of how to guide you.

Theft is the fault of the one who steals. Perhaps all of us can look to be cautious with our things, can be accused of carelessness at times, even. But even if we are careless, the theft is not our fault. That's simple victim blaming.

But a thought for reflection -- sometimes it's easier to be mad at ourselves when such things happen (vs. being mad at the one who stole). If so, such a tendency can say a great deal about how we relate to our own anger.

Diane said...

oh no, Steve! my parents didn't steal my allowance. the kid who sat in back of me stole it. after a few weeks, I just learned to keep a better eye on my purse.

but you're right about relating to anger. but who to be angry with, since I don't know who did it?

DogBlogger said...

I was pretty much going to say what Zorra already said, so you can go back and look at hers... :-)

((((Diane))))

Jan said...

(((Diane))) I'm so sorry. I feel like you are blaming yourself as I blamed myself for my friends dumping on me. Give it to God instead. Our credit card was used without us even losing it--way off in England where we hadn't been! That isn't exactly comforting, but things could happen even if the card is not lost. Please don't blame yourself.

Juniper said...

((Diane)) I'm so sorry this happened to you, and so sorry you are blaming yourself too.