While I was standing right next to it, praying.
At the time it was pretty distressing, and very annoying. But, with a few months between us and a dash of beloved retrospect, I’ve decided it wasn’t the worst thing to happen. In fact, I think it was a blessing in disguise, because it taught me these four things:
- I don’t actually carry my life in my bag
I thought perhaps I did. But, turns out, without my bag I’m still alive. Yes, it was frustrating to lose my smartphone, purse, bank card, driving licence, house keys, large collection of loyalty cards (the list goes on), but I borrowed money, I got home, I was fine.
Things really aren’t everything. My hope and security lie in Christ not in possessions. I knew that, but I didn’t know it. Now I do.
- The Church is in the world
It seems rather obvious when I think about it, but it’s easy to forget when I walk into church on a Sunday – it just feels so safe. But of course the Church should open its doors to everyone, and that means we need to be prepared for the fact that anybody might actually come, and perhaps stop all closing our eyes at exactly the same time…?
People are broken, hurting and searching outside the walls of our churches while we are inside, privileged to know and to meet with God. And, when I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach and opened my eyes to discover an empty space where my bag should have been, I was reminded that I can’t escape the world, that we’re always in it. And that’s good news.
- Kindness is invaluable
After the bag incident, I appreciated kindness so very much. Christian (then) strangers took me to the police station, waited with me for hours and gave me money to get the train home. Work friends lent me a phone, offered to do anything they could to help, and even bought me back the Accessorize voucher, which had been inside my stolen purse. I didn’t have to ask, so many people just found ways to be kind.
I don’t remember the last time, if ever, I heard someone preach on it, or saw someone praised for it, but I’ve decided that ‘kind’ is possibly the best thing you can be. It’s definitely something I want to be.
- My life is sheltered
I have lovely friends. I know the creator of the universe. And once upon a time I had a good phone. So someone stole my bag, that’s literally the worst thing that’s happened to me all year. I am immensely blessed, and I needed to be reminded.
I’m grateful for the life I have and I’m thankful that what felt like a major crisis at the time was actually so insignificant that after a day I could already (if slightly bitterly) joke about it.