“Why don’t we steal away.
Why don’t we steal away,
Into the night.
I know it ain’t right.” (1980) “Steal Away” Recorded By: Robbie Dupree Composers: Rick Chudacoff & Robbie Dupree
Some will say, karma rules. Some will say, too bad. Some will say, just deserts. (Yes, that’s the correct spelling for this old phrase. I had to look it up to be sure.)
Let me just start by denouncing any such phrase reflecting judgement here. Judgement toward another is easy to slip into, but more harsh when inflicted. Judging this young woman, described below, is not the intension of this post. I am not one who attempts to execute God’s edicts.
What a 24 year old shoplifter from Orlando, Florida did recently could cost her a hand, or arm in some systems of law around the world. It very well might have been more acceptable to her in lieu of what actually occurred.
A young career criminal, caught up in a sucking whirlpool of misdeeds in her life, partnered up with a man for a shoplifting spree at a Dillard’s store at a Florida mall on May 26th. As been her routine in past crimes, she left her two little children in the car while she spent an hour inside Dillard’s collecting products. Because this was not her first heist, plus the fact that it has become well-known that major retailers are now trained to avoid conflict, or aggression with shoplifters, like many, she felt “safe” in blatantly stealing merchandise around noon that day. With the current culture’s relaxed laws, many give themselves a sense of justification to commit crimes. This particular crime has become a national plague of late.
After a good haul of free stuff (not free for you or for me), she walked toward Dillard’s exit with her arms full. As she looked up toward her parked vehicle, she could hardly believe her eyes. Running through her mind at that exact moment must have been,
“Is that MY car? No, it must be somebody else’s car. Oh, no! That IS my car!”
Photo: NBC News. Car fire at a Florida Dillard’s.
Her mind wanted to deny, at first, the horrid truth that her car was engulfed in flames. This 24 year old mother of two, dropped all of her stolen goods and ran to her burning car with only two thoughts purging her brain…her trapped kids. One child tried to escape the flames. Good Samaritan bystanders rushed to the engulfed 2016 Ford Lincoln and thankfully rescued the screaming children. They both were sped away to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital. One child received severe first degree burns to her face and ears. Their ages have not been released as I write this. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
I wouldn’t wish that scenario on my most aggressive enemy. I don’t know this young mother, this young criminal, so I can’t say what she may be pondering today. One would hope that the sheer tragedy of the event will cause this woman to turn from her feelings of license to commit crimes against the public and start anew. One would hope this woman will reject her negative influencers, make new friends, and discover the richness of a life free from lawbreaking.
No matter what future she is allowed from this point onward, one thing is certain. She taught us a little bit about the hardness of the wall of truth. Notice how even though the heist was all planned, the get-away was designed, the dollar signs in her mind from a potential black market resale may have floated like balloons in her dreams, it took one second, a wisp of a moment of clarity to let it all go. Even though somewhere in her youthful past her heart had turned to stone, to some degree, she had a love for her kids. Her love may had been tainted, seared, or covered over by her lust for crime, it all melted instantly when she saw her two children in a torched sedan.
What would you do? Sometimes it takes a burning car in life to shake us to wake us. Sometimes a horrible event can slap us into reason. Other times, the vision of seeing your family go up in proverbial flames can cause a turning from a life of deceit, abuse, petty theft, or infidelity, and the people who enable such infractions. Still, when the snares of pet sin freezes its victim in a cold, hard grip, it has teeth causing lifelong scars.
King David wrote a prayer reflecting this thought:
“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” Psalm 199:71 (NIV)
The marble wall can be brutal.
My hope is, someone will read her story and maybe feel the winds of a change of heart deep in the core of the soul. After all, this young mother, no matter how twisted her life had become, suddenly understood the goods she nabbed illegally was not worth a dime in real life. She knew where her true treasure really was. They were behind the licking flames.
Unfortunately for the woman, the harsh truth also catches up regardless of lessons learned. The young mother is now facing two felony charges. She will be in court fighting charges of aggravated child neglect and arson, although the cause of the fire has yet to been determined, the arrest report states her neglect contributed to the children’s injuries while in the process of the commission of a felony. Roosters do roost.
As an added note of reality, the Seminole County Sheriff’s office also presented an outstanding warrant for her arrest detailing charges from a past petty theft, combined with, assault and battery on a 65 year old victim in another county, about 55 miles west of Orlando. The cows do come home.
Again, I will not trash this individual for her choice of lifestyle. There, but for the grace of God, go I. It is enough to know the God of the universe, the One Who loves this misguided mother, and her innocent children, was there on the scene. It is this Wonderful Counselor, Who also happens to be the Earth’s Ultimate Judge, Who will speak to her heart through His Spirit concerning a release from sin, a redemption reserved for her, with keys to His kingdom. Meanwhile, I will pray for her to listen to His promptings.
One more note of observation.
Did her partner in crime hang around to help rescue the kids, or comfort his accomplice? No dice. This is the “enemy’s” playbook. That reveal says so much, doesn’t it?
Grabbing true treasure of lasting value can always be discovered in fuel for the race.
“And I (he) will say to myself, ‘You have many goods stored up for many years to come; relax, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself!’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is demanded of you; and as for all that you have prepared, who will own it now?’ Such is the one who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich in relation to God.” -Jesus – Luke 12:19-21 (NAS)