My laptop was stolen two nights ago. I was sitting on a bench at a bus stop, overburdened with numerous bags, and when the bus arrived, I got up and walked toward the bus without my laptop. I noticed literally within thirty seconds, but by the time I turned around to go back and pick it up, someone had already grabbed it and taken off.
I went around most of yesterday feeling awful. Fortunately, I back everything up on a flash drive which I wear around my neck, so the WORST outcome -- losing all of my writing, and months of course preparation -- was averted. In fact, ever since my computer died on me last spring (requiring me to send it in for repairs), I actually work directly off the flash drive and then back the flash drive up to my computer, so my computer hard drive is actually less up-to-date than what I still have left. So that was a big relief.
But I still felt awful. My laptop is pretty much my constant companion. Being a writer and a teacher, it is the main tool of my trade. Not to mention that it is a terribly expensive piece of equipment, one that I won't have the financial resources to replace maybe for the rest of this year.
But over the last 24 hours, I have lived into the awareness that, as important a possession as it was to me, it was, like all possessions, still just an accessory. It is not the laptop in itself that has any importance, but the human being I have become while using the laptop as a tool. Writing has been one of my most vital spiritual practices, something that has helped me unravel so many knots of pain, confusion and fear, and helped me clarify who and what I am, what my faith is, and how to move forward in this crazy world, where people steal laptops and do much, much worse to each other. It is me, it is what I've become that counts, and no one can take that from me (and the writing will continue, on little scraps of paper if necessary).
And I'm left praying for the person who took it, hoping that his or her life can go in a more positive direction that it apparently is in right now. And wondering about this society of haves and have-nots that we have created and/or are complicit in. And all the things we build up around ourselves to give ourselves false senses of security.
I won't say having my laptop stolen was a blessing. But maybe it was a sign.