A few days ago I returned home after leading a summer teaching workshop to find one of my windows shattered, my jewelry scattered, and our TV missing. We’d been robbed.
After hours of police reports and vacuuming up thousands of shards of glass, it was hard not to feel angry, violated, and worried about repeat burglaries. But then I was reminded of a story told about Ronald Reagan, right after he’d been shot. He was on a hospital gurney being rushed into surgery when the lead doctor bent over him and asked, “Are you allergic to anything?”
Reagan took a deep breath, looked him in the eye, and said, “Bullets”.
It takes a strong person to retain a sense of humor in a situation like that. But it also reminds me that we all have the power to choose how we react to the events that befall us. Reagan chose not to succumb to fear, but instead took charge of the situation and put those around him at ease.
I choose to learn a lesson from that. I choose not to allow these burglars, whoever they are, to make me fearful or to think differently about our little house in the woods. I choose to retain my assumption of goodwill rather than fearing the worst of strangers. Instead, I choose to retain my peace of mind. To do otherwise would be to let them win.