For those of you that follow me on Instagram, you may have recently seen me post about a mail thief that came into my life a few weeks ago. Today I wanted to take the opportunity to share the story with you and the attitude transformation that occurred as a result. Since my husband and I moved to our new house in January, I have been purchasing a few things here and there — particularly for our master bedroom. Pieces have been trickling in from the mail, which is always fun… until two Saturdays ago when my Pine Cone Hill coverlet was stolen in broad daylight off our front porch.
Now let me tell you… these purchases were not made without careful consideration from my husband and I. We don’t have unlimited funds to spend on home decor. In fact, most of our furniture was either purchased on Craigslist or at a garage sale. So when my high-end, brand-new blanket was stolen, it didn’t just feel a little bad, it physically hurt.
My first reaction was sheer sadness. But after I was able to bounce out of that initial shock, I got sincerely angry. It was hard for me to even wrap my brain around the concept of someone walking up to our front door on a busy thoroughfare and lifting personal belongings from my property. I felt violated and I literally stewed on it the remainder of the weekend. Then, after researching some different tactics for getting revenge (I’m just being transparent here), saying a few prayers, and reflecting for awhile, I finally came to a place that helped carry me through the rest of the ordeal. Thankfully for my sanity, it was a place of peace and forgiveness.
So, I put a plan in place starting with a letter. Here’s what it said:
Dear Porch-side Package Picker,
Did you know that stealing and/or the opening of certified mail in which you were not the recipient is a federal offense? After committing the aforementioned theft of my personal packages for a second time in the course of a week, I was forced to hide cameras as a security precaution. Now, upon your third criminal act, I have footage as official proof. Rather than go straight to the police, I would like to give you the opportunity to return the items that you have taken. It is not my wish to retaliate towards you, but rather just to receive the blanket and facial products that I paid for. My husband works for a church and makes a modest living, so having these mindful purchases stolen is a serious loss for us.
Please know that we forgive you in whatever decision you make and have no judgement or hate against you. If you are, in fact, in need of the warmth that my blanket is providing you, please accept a sleeping bag from us as a trade-off. We will leave it next to the porch. We will give you until Saturday before pursuing law enforcement assistance.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:12-13
The letter was placed into a Target shipping box with a T-shirt that read “May He Empower You To Do Good” and a Life.Church invite card. I then headed to the post office and mailed it to myself to make the bait officially official. And finally, I waited on a stakeout as the mailman dropped off the package at my home.
\\ Stakeout Video //
As you may have guessed, my “security measures” were actually just me hiding in the backseat of my super-hot car with a camera. (good mental image, huh?) But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I really had no intention of ever turning this person in, even if I caught them in the act. I would say, while a goal remained getting my blanket returned to me, I moreso desired to see this person relate WITH me.
Unfortunately, I do not have a miraculous or extravagant outcome for you to read about. The package that I sent to myself was never taken and my letter never reached its recipient. There was no conflict resolution or intended life change. What DID take place, however, was personal growth. I learned that being quick to forgive is so vital to my emotional health. I also learned that being able to clearly describe my feelings towards that incident allowed me to physically let it go. And lastly, it forced me to put myself in the shoes of a thief, of whom I had no circumstantial knowledge. There is no point in holding grudges or playing the “you’re wrong, I’m right” card when situations are clearly out of your control. And although I never had the opportunity to show a loving hand to the offender, grace showed itself right where it needed to — in my heart.