The Sword, Mirror and the Jewel: A True Tale by John Dore

Was it worth it? It was sometime around one year ago, May, or June, 2008, I think. We were closing up an iaido class and shutting down the dojo for the day. As it was fine weather that night, the front door was open to allow in some fresh air. The few students that night were bowing off of the mat and preparing to leave. A friend and I had been chatting for a few minutes after class and he was now heading to the locker room. He had placed his iaito (sword) onto a bench behind the practice area about 20 feet in from the doorway.

I headed into the office to close up there. I returned to the practice area about 10 minutes later to find my friend searching around the dojo trying to find his iaito. Everyone had joined in the search. A parent picking up her daughter came in to see what the commotion was about and told us that she thought she saw someone running through the parking lot toward the back of the building just a few minutes prior.

In the few minutes while we were away from the practice area, someone had entered the dojo, violated the serenity of our practice area, and stole away into the night taking a sword with him. I felt terrible. An unwanted intruder had entered into the heart of the safe community that I was working so hard to create.

My friend was embarrassed for his foolish handling of his possession. I was angry at the intrusion and I was angry at my anger. You see, there was a homeless man named Johnny living with a few folks in the woods somewhere close behind our building. Johnny and I had talked about a dozen times over the last few months. I had tried to help him out by a few minor kind gestures. I felt sad for the life that he was leading and the horrible conditions he was choosing to remain in. I had been sad for him but now I felt angry at him. I impulsively felt that he had betrayed me. He might not have done anything wrong. After all, it might have been anybody.