by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
Paranormal Underground Magazine
It’s really been one of those weeks. On Monday, Techie McScienceGeek and I discovered that someone had stolen his debit card number and used it to drain our bank account by making purchases of small, high-value electronics on Amazon.com, a company that makes it very easy for thieves to use stolen cards on their site by not requiring any card verification at all other than that the funds are available. While having your bank account drained down to $9.27 by a thief is never a good experience, in the few weeks before Christmas it takes on a whole new significance. The good news was that we caught it nearly right away. The bad news was that we were several days from payday.
My first reaction was anger. And frustration. Since we had no idea who the thief was other than it was very likely someone who worked for one of the local merchants in whom we place our trust in our small town, I had to use the shotgun anger approach. Which meant that mostly I was ticked at a) thieves in general; b) local merchants, for hiring thieves; c) Amazon.com for making it so easy for thieves to use stolen cards on their site and abscond with a crapload of money; and d) myself for using our debit cards in a way that would allow a thief to steal the number. On Monday, Techie and I spent the better part of the day on the phone with and at the bank, at the police station, on the phone with Amazon.com, and calling anyone who had a scheduled autopay coming out of our bank account to tell them that if they took the money, well – they couldn’t. There was no money to take.
So that was Monday. Really, our only recourse was to drink and watch comedies. We did both. On Monday night as we slept in our alcohol infused stupor (okay – not true – I had one drink, although for me that’s a lot!), a gigantic wind storm rolled in, and we awoke on Tuesday to no Internet/Cable/Phone. So now we were not only broke, but I couldn’t work AND we had no electronic entertainment options. I was starting to feel just a bit whiny and pathetic. Which is when I remembered this: we have a roof over our head, we are healthy and happy, our kids are well, we are both gainfully employed doing work that we love, we have friends and family who mean the world to us. I could go on, but you get the idea. If the worst thing that ever happens to me is that someone drains my bank account (and let’s face it, I’m usually that someone), then I’m pretty much doing juuuuussssssst fine. Better than fine even.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the petty annoyances that arise during day-to-day life, that I often forget to look at the big picture. Yep – crap happens. Sometimes lots of it. Much of it unpleasant; but, to go through life focused on that seriously takes away from the myriad of blessings that I have. It keeps me from recognizing the many wonderful, amazing, joyful things right in front of my face. Things like happy, wiggling puppies. Art. Music. Literature. Following my passion. Techie and the kids. Our friends. Spending time with loved ones.
If life traveled along with nary a bump in the road, we’d never have the opportunity to step back and realize the magnificence of those things that we do have. The things that really matter have very little to do with wealth, possessions, electronics, or anything else. As a matter of fact, I’m reminded that stuff and electronic entertainment actually distract us from those things of value. And so, every once in a while, something reminds us of what matters. It’s the universe’s clever ploy – stripping away the distractions for a time. It seems significant that often during the most difficult times that people fall in love with their spouse again, realize what a blessing their children are, and discover the true value of kindness, compassion, and friendship.
What seems like a curse is often a gift. Someone stole our money and left us with next to nothing. At the same time, they left us with something even more valuable than what they took. They reminded us who and what matters most. And for that, I thank you – whoever you are.
Image by Kevin Cortopassi, used under a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.