Saturday, October 2, 2010

Reflections on a Mugging - or two

So as most of you out there know a few weeks ago I was mugged twice in one night. It was a few days before Eid which is the big Muslim holiday - and the day on which most people travel to visit their family. One of my friends was a little sad that she had no family to visit so we decided to take her out for dinner instead.
On leaving the restaurant we took a rickshaw out to the main road. We were only on the rickshaw for about a minute when three men stopped our rickshaw flashing knives and a gun at us. This mugging proceeded as calmly as any mugging can. I spoke to the man pointing the knife at me saying Accha Ek minute amar taka deben (ok 1 minute I will give you my money). He double checked my wallet and then let us go. I think our rickshaw walla (driver) was more scared than we were. At the same time our friend was also being mugged about 10meters behind us. They were more violent to him - hitting him with a machete but fortunately his phone took most of the force.

Our rickshaw walla took us to a friends place where we borrowed money for the CNG ride home. I still had my bag with camera and phone so was quite pleased that I hadn't lost everything.
The CNG ride went well enough, we arrived at the apartment, paid the CNG driver, but as soon as he unlocked the door to let us out, the opening was blocked by 6 men with knives and guns. I nearly laughed at that point - what are the odds?
My laughter soon disappeared these men were serious and much more aggressive from the start. They removed us quite forcefully from the CNG grabbing my bag as they pulled me out. I told them in Bangla that we didn't have any money as we had already been mugged before, but it just seemed to make them more angry.
They began lifting up our auna and salwar kameez tops looking for hidden money. As this was going on I only thought that this is so inappropriate to be touching a women this way in this culture. So as the man touched me I hit his hand away - quite hard in fact. I was rewarded with the hit to the head with his gun. At that point I decided to let them look for money. After searching us and not finding any money they let us go.
When we got up to our place I was very shaken. The aggressive nature of the second mugging and the fact it happened right outside our building was very unsettling. I skyped mum dad and my sister who all did a wonderful job at calming me down. - I think I did the opposite to them.
What followed in the hours after the mugging was an outpouring of love and support from all my supporters. So many messages from people saying that they were praying for me. It took this for me to catch a glimpse of the wonderful support I have.
The first few days after the muggings were quite hard. I looked at every man I saw with suspicion and when a beggar would approach me on the street I would jump a mile, I also made sure I was home well before dark.
After the initial first days I felt a prompting to forgive. When I forgave I felt the peace of God wash over me afresh. I found Psalm 91 helpful - this psalm was given to me many times before I left NZ
"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. They say of the Lord He is my refuge and my fortress my God in whom I trust" Psalm 91 vs 1-2
Also check out verse 14-16

What I learnt more than anything is that I am not in control. Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking that we can control our own lives. This isn't the case. God is in control. He was in control while I was being mugged , He is in control now. It is just up to us to put our desire for control aside and place our trust in God, who knows us better than we know ourselves.

Till next time