A few weeks ago, a friend complemented a pair of earrings I was wearing and when I thanked her, I mentioned that I had just bought them for $12 at TJMaxx.  She replied that she was surprised because they looked much more expensive. My response, “Oh, since our house was burglarized three years ago, I don’t buy expensive jewelry anymore,” got me thinking about how much that experience affected me.

It wasn’t the things, mostly jewelry, that I lost in the burglary that disturbs me the most. Of course, I miss the sentimental necklaces and earrings that my family had given me throughout my lifetime, but it’s a much more personal loss – the loss of a sense of security and safety that my family and I felt after the incident. Although I thought I had dealt with my feelings about it, my response to my friend and realization that I don’t treat myself to a pair of gold earrings or a gemstone pendant indicates that I still carry that insecurity with me today.

Knowing that someone intentionally broke into our home, went though our possessions, and, without a care, stole things that were meaningful to us without a whit of empathy is mind-blowing. Of course the burglars knew that stealing is wrong, but they just didn’t care – they didn’t see us as people, in fact, they didn’t think of us at all. They only thought about what they wanted for themselves. They wanted it, figured out how to get it, and took it. When I arrived home and saw the door broken open, I was in shock. It wasn’t the things that were stolen that scarred me the most, it was the sense that someone inflicted harm on our family, invaded our space, stole our sense of security, and worse, didn’t even care.

Since then, we’ve recovered, but it’s left scars. We rarely leave the house without turning on the alarm and double checking the locks and we look more closely when we see strange cars in our neighborhood. Maybe 2016 will be the year when I invest in a new pair of gold hoops or sapphire ring to replace the ones that were taken…or maybe I’ll just look for more pretty costume jewelry at TJMaxx.