Human Stories

A dialogue with a burglar

Here below I would like to share with you a story (that I find amazing), that was told to me few weeks ago by a participant in my course. For me it demonstrates the incredible human wisdom, and how communication can completely transform also a very violent situation:
The story:
“I came home and saw someone had been in my house. I had no clue he was still inside. I went down the stairs to the bedroom and as soon as I walked the door I was grabbed by my neck and a knife was put on it.
The burglar tied my hands on my back with a rope and I started to panic (imagining myself suffering slowly to death, since I lived in an anti-kraak and had no neighbors that would hear me scream).
I noticed he went into panic too; as a reaction to my panic.  As a result of his panic I suddenly became very quiet and clear. Without thinking a sentence just came out of me: “What’s your pain ?”
I have no idea why I said that, it just happened. And I remember I truly meant the words. Somehow it touched a vulnerable place in him. He broke…..then something bizar happened.
He wanted me to sit on the side of the bed. I kept asking him questions… making connection…. questions about his mom, about church, about God… we had a long, intimate,
personal conversation about life’s challenges. That was the most meaningful connection I ever had. I told him my life story (which isn’t one of success and glory, but lots of pain, suffering and loss). He started trusting me and asked me over and over to tell him he wasn’t a bad guy.
Within the growing trust I started asking him why he took my stuff, what it was that he really needed in order to get his life together and I told him the consequences for me if he took the things he had gathered.
I told him he could make a different choice always, any moment, could get help, get a second chance…..I just kept repeating this over and over.
In the end he had given back all my belongings, I promised I wouldn’t call the police and gave him my cash money (about 50 euro). He kneeled in front of me, placed his hands on my knees and said sorry
for what he had done to me.”
With trust in human nature,
Yoram Mosenzon