Radiant Magazine January/ February 2013

Page 26



Responding to the desire for safety in a crime-ravaged land By Kate Motaung


t was ten thirty in the morning as I unlocked the front door to our home and ushered my three kids inside. They had barely set foot in the house when they pleaded, “Can we go play outside, Mom?” “Sure,” I answered, and walked through the lounge to unlock the glass door leading to the backyard. “That’s odd,” I thought to myself, “This key never used to stick before. I wonder why it’s so difficult to open today.” As I struggled to get the key to turn, my gaze fell to the window on my left. Broken glass. The reality did not register. I continued to fidget with the key. More broken glass, on the floor below the window. Finally the reality sunk in. There had been an attempted break-in. My mind kicked into full gear as my eyes rapidly assessed the damage. Thankfully, the burglar bars were still in tact, so it did not seem likely that anyone had actually succeeded in entering the house. Still, my heart pounded. I stepped cautiously through each room, checking behind every door, determined to make sure that we didn’t have any unwanted guests in our midst. Then I went for the phone. My husband was speaking at a conference an hour away that day, out of cell phone reach. Unsure as to whom I was supposed to call first – landlady? Insurance? Police? – I found myself dialing our pastor’s number to ask for his advice in the situation. As I held the receiver to my ear, recounting the events to our pastor, my eldest son interrupted me: “Mom, there’s a guy in our backyard!” I told my pastor,


who told me to call the police. Within seconds I had corralled the kids out of the lounge into their bedroom and locked the door behind us, phone in hand. In a mild state of panic, I told the kids to get under the bed, and I dialed the police, my eyes fixed on the burglar crouching against a wall in our backyard. While we waited for the police to arrive, I tried my best to maintain a calm outward appearance for the sake of my kids, though my heart thumped against the wall of my chest. Did he know we were inside? Could he hear me talking through the window? Was he armed? What would he do when the police came? How could I shield my kids from this reality, when there was no way for me to conceal it? All these questions raced

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