To Thank a Thief

Yikes“When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”
Gilbert K Chesterton

For decades I was a huge music fan.  Over the years, I’d collected countless record albums.  By the 1980s, I’d gradually replaced all my old record albums with their CD versions. Attached to every tune was a potent memory.  Paul McCartney, Elton John and Super Tramp got me through the 1970s.  Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Ricki Lee Jones got me through several heartbreaks in university.  Later, Carly Simon, Peter Gabriel, and Flim&the BBs got me through the romantic lows and highs of the 80’s and 90’s.  Every song evoked a memory that carried with it the potential to unleash tears of sorrow or great joy.  When caught-up in the music, I could truly lose myself in the past.

By the year 2000, my CD collection had accumulated into several piled high stacks.  My musical tastes had become varied and eclectic with some rare CDs and comedy.

One sad day, a dear friend died.  On short notice, I flew to Ottawa for the funeral.  It was a tragic affair but it was also a warm celebration of my friend’s wonderful and purposeful life.  He’d helped countless children around the world with a foundation he’d started.

Since I had a busy schedule, I flew home the same night and didn’t get to sleep until after midnight.  At the time, I was living in a basement apartment in a large two storey house.  Around 2:00am, something woke me up.  A loud crash sounded in the hall.  In darkness, I sat up in bed just as my bedroom door swung wide open.  Back-lit by the hall light was the silhouette of a tall man.

I’d always wondered how I would react in this situation.  Given the options of fight, flight or freeze, I’d always imagined “freeze” would be my natural course of action.  However, without any thought whatsoever, I flew out of bed, waved my fists in the air, and confronted the guy head-on screaming, “Who are you?  Who are you?”  In the back of my mind, I thought this must be a former tenant who’d kept his apartment key.  I was furious!

With my fists in his face, the man slowly backed away and moved down the hall without breaking eye contact.  As he continued slowly backwards with face toward me, I recalled some of my father’s investigative techniques when he was in the Air Force.  Continuing to screaming at the intruder, I tried to memorize his appearance.  I looked for distinguishing marks on his face but there were none.  His skin was a pale ghostly white.  He had curly brown hair with a glint of natural red highlights under the bright hall light.  I tried to memorize the shape of his face and jawline.  As he reached a side door, his hand slid behind his back, he pulled the door open, ran upstairs to a second door, tore it open and fled outside.  I slammed the door behind him and locked it.

My next thought was, “Where are my cats?”  I rushed down the hall and looked in different rooms but my two Russian Blue cats, Darryl and Darryl, were nowhere to be found.  The last room was the living room.  Continuing my search for the cats, I noticed my basement window was broken wide open.  In shock, I picked up the phone and called 911, mostly worried that my indoor cats had escaped and might be roaming the streets in grave danger.  As the police spoke with me, they asked if anything was missing.  I noticed that every CD was gone.  There had been hundreds.

It turned out that the Darryls were hiding under my bed.  The cats came back, and after that, I never bothered to replace my CD collection.

Well, it’s now 2013 and having reflected upon this experience, it’s time to thank the thief.  It took me a decade to realize that I’m actually grateful the CD collection is gone.

When I first became a Certified Master Clinical Hypnotist, I began to appreciate the power that our memories have over us.  Though our recollections of the past can be precious, they can also become a trap.  When music shifts your mood to one of sadness or anger, you’ve regressed back in time, likely to childhood, when you first felt those intense emotions.  With our load of emotional baggage we can easily become trapped in the past.

Each piece of music in my collection had the power to carry me back in time to a place of heightened emotions that would stay with me for hours.  What he did was wrong and devastating at the time.  However, when the thief stole my music, he also carried away an assortment of musical triggers, and for my emotional freedom, I thank him!


  1. Elizabeth,
    Congratulations on being quoted on the new SoulWheat website! Well said!