Trespass And Forgive

from my Yoga series of paintings.

from my Yoga series of paintings.

I’m back in the choir loft staring at the stained glass window. We’re having a conversation about the word ‘trespass;” it has lately been central to my meditation.

When I was a kid my cousin, Randal, and I used to trespass a lot. There was an old abandoned house built on a hillside. It had a big fence around it to keep us out. It also had the best tree swing in the world so it was worth the breach. Using the back porch as a launch pad, we could swing out over the hillside and let go, falling into a pile of mattresses and foam rubber stacked by all the trespassers. Many times we ran or hid when the police came to shoo us away, always returning when the coast was clear for another swing. It was thrilling.

I’ve trespassed a lot this past year, not into abandoned properties but into places within myself that I had erected fences, places I was not supposed to go. That is the necessity of growth. Transformation always requires a trespass. In stories it is the equivalent of leaving home and going where you are never supposed to go, the place where the monsters live, the place where the entire society (your psyche) tells you never to go. And, so, it becomes the one place that you must go to grow. It is usually ugly and messy and filled with betrayal – and that is the point: all the order dissolves into chaos so that a new order might emerge.

And, in the trespassing within, we trespass against others, especially against people we cherish. They are part of the old order. When the internal order dissolves, the outer order dissolves, too. That is also ugly and messy and filled with betrayal. There is loss of friendship. Love is tested.

My stained glass window tells me that forgiveness – of self and other – is a necessary step on the path to the new order. Trespass is a wrecking ball. Trespass is thrilling. The cops in the head (to borrow a phrase from Augusto Boal) will drive by to run you off or make you hide. The cops in the head will tell you that you are not safe or that you are doing damage that cannot be repaired. Fear wears a badge of authority. Fear wags a finger and calls you traitor, liar, or coward.

Trespass makes all things true and nothing true; that is the point of chaos. All location points disappear. My stained glass window tells me that forgiveness is new location point. It is an anchor. It is a sign that the new order, the butterfly, is emerging from the mush of chaos. Just as trespass is an essential movement away from the known, forgiveness is essential to return home. And, in story terms as in life, when you come home, finally and at last, after all of the trials and all of the betrayals, after all the mess and ugliness, you are new, so home is new, too. When you trespass, leave, and return, you find that there are no more fences and no more badges keeping you out. You find that the swing is available anytime. Love is reformed and everything becomes possible.

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