I'm participating in this year's A-Z challenge, and so will be posting daily about a subject focusing on a letter of the alphabet.
BANDIT. Thieves are terrifying threats, but doesn't "bandit" sound comedic, like a little raccoon that sneaks onto your porch at midnight and dives headfirst into your container of birdseed? I had that happen once, actually. I was in the mountains, staying by myself out in the middle of nowhere, and in the middle of the night was awakened by fearsome thumping and scraping on the front porch. Heart in throat, I crept into the living room and peered out the huge bay windows into the darkness, and saw, illuminated by moonlight, the masked bandit's rump above the opening of my covered can of birdseed. He had a feast, and I'd almost had a heart attack.
There are many things that steal from our lives, perhaps not as cute or funny as my masked marauder, but marauders just as well. The stranger who laughs as you try something new in the gym. The driver who gesticulates furiously at you on the highway. The friend who says unkind things behind your back. The mother who can no longer remember your name. The child who brings you to tears by abandoning his faith. The husband who cheats.
So many incidences that pick you up, turn you over and over in their tiny paws, and take small, precise bites of your heart. When the thief of joy hits, life can sometimes feel like everything, every contact you have with others, goes wrong, ends badly, is hopeless.
Just like the raccoon on my porch, these bandits of our happiness come when we least expect it and seize their chance. Our tendency is to be on guard, to protect our valuables. But we can't lock up our love like a safe. Each small moment that we are unhappy, or angry, or frustrated, or despairing, the bandits make off with something that can never be replaced.
Instead, throw open the coffers of your heart. What is given freely can't be stolen. When you love in the face of hurts, in SPITE of the hurts, you affirm that life is a wide-open, generous force that cannot be conquered by the thieves of this world. Unmask the bandits. Recognize them for what they are, and no longer give them power over you. Love. Love again. And then love some more.