Friday, April 24, 2009

Still, I will have all I need

I am sad to report that our river project—indeed, our overall sense of security—suffered a setback this week.

Before it even started, I knew this would be an intense five days. I traveled to Indiana Monday/Tuesday for a job-related speaking engagement. Tuesday evening, I would fly home, only to leave the next morning for another assignment in Canada Wednesday through Friday. But on the first leg of my trip—while waiting for a connection in Chicago on Monday morning—my wife called me in tears. She had been running some errands, and returned to discover that our home had been broken into.

It is not easy to be apart when something like this happens. Not for my wife. And not for me.

On a typical Monday morning, I would have been home working in my office (would my presence have made the intruders choose another house?). Receiving her phone call while miles from home, I could only think of how thankful I was that my wife and son were away when the break-in occurred. The stolen and damaged items should, for the most part, be covered by insurance (we’re in good hands). But two things cannot be protected by a simple insurance policy. One is our sense of sovereignty; it has gone missing and is not likely to be replaced anytime soon.

The other item missing, that I know of, is a laptop… containing numerous photographs and digital maps that are the result of countless hours of work. Yes, much of that material is backed up. But some of it was recent, and irreplaceable. (I finished a new presentation about our project last Saturday morning, in time for our Earth Day celebrations, and had not yet backed that material up.) Whoever stole that computer took much more than a machine. They took plans. They took images of what needs to be done. And they took our record of things already accomplished.

I am writing this posting while flying home from Vancouver, Canada, late on Friday afternoon; there will be little time for writing when I land. I am eager to get home and see my wife. And I am eager to inventory my office for items lost (much of the equipment I use is foreign to Julie, so counting the loss must wait until I get home). Until now, I have tried to “compartmentalize” the events of the week, focusing on the work assignments that kept me from home, and checking in with Jul when I can. But now that I’m homeward bound, I’m eager to see the faces of my family. I am wondering about cameras, lenses, GPS devices, back-up hard drives, and whatever else. I’ve no idea how much of our gear is missing… and less idea of when I’ll be able to replace it all.

I feel both angry and cheated that this happened. But most of all, I feel thankful that my wife and kids were not home at the time. As for the work I have lost, I suppose I’ll just have to use this loss as an excuse to revisit the river, and recapture those photos. Hmmm. That reminds me of a really good song lyric, about a couple who lost everything when their cabin burned down:

After the blaze turned our cabin down to ashes… where we had slept warm, now the sky lets in the rain. I found the strings, the frets and rusted latches.
But I will never hear that old guitar again.

Now these four walls are only in my memory… now these stone steps lead to nothing in the air. So one last look, and then I’m headed for the river…
To wash my hands, and try to say this prayer:

Let us dive into the water, and leave behind all that we’ve worked for, except what we remember and believe. And as I stand on the farthest shore... I will have all I need.

[Lyrics from “Farthest Shore,” David Wilcox.]

© 2009 Mike D. Anderson, Crystal, MN. All rights reserved.


  1. Mike, Very sorry to hear of this incident. It reminds me of just how vulnerable what we think of as solid foundation can be. I'm hoping you discover the loss isn't as bad your expecting and that your sense of sovereignty can be restored soon. Godspeed, Al

  2. Only the lowest of the lowest.....I'm really sorry about the break in and the unease it has caused your family. Not to mention the equipment and computers that have been stolen. May the police find the bad guys and remove that "pollution" from our streets. And may your computers be found intact! May your sense of security and safety be restored.

    I know your wife and I also follow your blog with facsination. What a great use of technology.

  3. What an awful feeling. However, you have the right attitude...everyone is safe. Things don't matter. (That is easy to say but hard to accept!) What you also have left is YOU! YOU didn't have any of that stuff when you began and look what YOU accomplished! Let us know how we can help get you there again...LWD

  4. I'm so sorry you guys had to go through this. I hope it doesn't cause too much of a set back with your summer river plans. Let us know if there is anything we can do.