It is the second time in 12 years in the same house.

The first time it was a smashed window that gave easy access. My wife returned home in the middle of the incident and confronted the thief in the kitchen who fled on foot along with his partner.

Since then I have installed heavy duty plexiglass on all possible access windows and our home has been made as secure as you would have thought possible.

So, this time they brutally smashed  in the bottom panel of an outside door in the basement and then shattered an access door from the basement to the kitchen that was locked with a heavy deadbolt.

We were only gone two hours.

We see the smashed exterior door as soon as we come around the corner from the carport. It is obvious what has happened. Uncertain whether the visitors might still be inside we call the police. Three officers arrive accompanied by a canine unit. They search the house thoroughly and order a forensic expert who combs through our home looking for bootprints, fingerprints, or, ideally, blood splatters.

We wait outside while they “secure” our home.

But, of course, it does not feel entirely secure. It is hard not to feel vulnerable knowing someone has violently entered your home and seeing the presence of their actions in drawers open and the contents strewn on the floor.

We ask the forensic expert how often this happens in our incredibly tame and civilized municipality. His response is a tiny bit startling. He replies, “Well this is the third scene I have attended today.”

I ask another officer, “Who are these people?” He says, “They are people who don’t really care about you.”

Not quite satisfied, and disregarding how incredibly naive I know it will make me appear, I persist, asking again, “But seriously, who would do this? It seems so mean to go into someone’s home and violate their personal space in such a violent way.”

He shrugs and has no answer.

We have a lot of stuff. But most of what we have is meaningful to us and not of any great value. So, the intruders must have had a frustrating time in our home. They got some jewelery, a bit of cash, a set of cutlery. They missed my laptop which I always hide away before leaving home.

An on-call carpenter from Downs Construction comes within an hour and boards up the exterior door. Tomorrow they will install two new doors. We will call our insurance company and try to describe the missing items and imagine their dollar value.

In the affairs of our fractured violent world, the break and entry of a middle class suburban home is a miniscule blip on the landscape. It is barely worth noticing.

As the police leave and the carpenter arrives to secure our exterior door, we sit down to dinner brought  by our daughters who have rushed from their homes to bring us comfort. Eating together I sense that those who violated our home have provably never had this experience of warmth, love, and compassion we share with our daughters. Most burglars have probably never been touched by the care we receive from those whose love is a beacon in our lives.

As we pick up personal garments strewn over the floor in our bedroom feeling the vulnerability and violation that follow such an invasion, I understand that whoever was in this room a few hours ago, probably has little ability to empathize with the person upon whom their actions would have an impact because they never received such compassion growing up.

My heart grieves for people who struggle to eke out a meagre living breaking into other peoples’ homes to steal their possessions.

So, in the end, I feel sadness for those who feel forced to such desperate acts and gratitude for the beauty and light I experience every day in my own incredibly blessed life.

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