Editorial: Contemplating Misfortune

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

After my house was robbed clean last week, I made the mistake of calling my insurance company. I was painfully reminded that for the thousands of dollars each year that I faithfully pay, I am only covered for hurricane, fire and OTHER natural disasters. I was told, as a policy, my insurance company rarely issues theft insurance because, and I quote, “I am sorry Mrs. Sniffin, it is not a matter of IF you will be robbed, it is a matter of WHEN. It is a CERTAINTY.”

Then came the Security Companies; all but one NEW to the island as of a month ago. No less then four different companies contacted me within 48 hours of my hard luck. Sure, I know they just want to help, and I am glad they are here to now offer a service that was not needed just months ago…but I could not help but feel like a touch of salt was added to my wounds of misfortune when they circled in.

Now we are busy forming Neighborhood Watches, debating which closed-circuit monitoring systems are most effective and becoming experts in jungle warfare. Now we are meeting our neighbors, learning self-defense and even applying for gun permits. Now we wish our friendly dogs were more threatening and regret the thick foliage we once planted in our yards that now offers cover for those who look to thieve us. Now we scrutinize every unfamiliar face that passes our house, judging them before offering a not-so-ready smile.

As I recover from a gut-wrenching violation that many of us have painfully endured in San Pedro of late, I can’t help but think of an analogy that intrigues me. Apparently the Chinese word for “crisis” is frequently invoked in motivational speaking along with the statement that the two characters it is composed of represent “danger” and “opportunity.”  The pairing of these symbols shed a new light on a bad situation, providing food for thought when pondering circumstances that are hard to grasp.

I can see where the opportunity may lay for those who offer a service to protect, and there is opportunity to grow a tighter community with the ones you share a street with. There is the opportunity to realize that possessions CAN be a burden and the opportunity to be thankful for what we have deep in our hearts that no one can ever take from us. I am sure there are other opportunities out there that will reveal themselves over time and I sure hope some of those opportunities are for the police to catch the very bad people who are terrorizing our island.

In the meantime there is another fundamental Buddhist doctrine I plan to contemplate as well; Karma. Karma is the result of our own past actions and our own present doings. We ourselves are responsible for our own happiness and misery. We create our own Heaven. We create our own Hell. We are the architects of our own fate, and what goes around comes around…one way or another, thieves will suffer their own consequences.

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