No Trespassing!

by Sally Matheny
No Trespassing!
  A previous post mentions creating a special place in the woods behind our home. Although originally intended as a quiet place for my bi-vocational pastor-husband, we invited our family and friends to come enjoy the peaceful trail.
  There is a fallen tree near the chair at the Quiet Place. Underneath a slab of bark, we tucked a plastic-wrapped Bible. It is a hidden treasure for anyone to use during his time with God by the creek.
  The trail itself became a treasure to us. My husband and I worked together extending it around the back of our property. There’s something very therapeutic about working outside. We didn’t mind the sore muscles at the end of the day. It was satisfying work. The time spent together was great. Peaceful.

  Well, most of the time. Sometimes all three dogs wanted to walk with us. That’s fine except when they decide to wrestle with each other. It’s hard to walk with a rolling ball of dogs in front of you.
  Our son has a blast with imaginary adventures in the forest. He has friends over and they are either hunting wild hogs, dragons or the elusive Big Foot.
  So, the freshly made trail led us to fun times as well as peaceful times. That is, until it was violated.
  Before the trail was two months old, someone trespassed against us. Someone stole my sweetheart’s chair from his Quiet Place one week before Christmas.
  This may sound trivial, perhaps even humorous to some. But, when I heard the news, I experienced five of the seven emotional stages of grief.
  I was shocked. Gone? What do you mean gone? The day before was a windy day. Surely the wind had just picked it up and it was somewhere in the woods. I was in denial. We looked everywhere. The heavily wooded area would make it practically impossible for the chair to blow very far. I kept scanning the treetops for the dangling chair. Nothing.
  I skipped the bargaining and guilt phases and jumped right into anger. How dare someone come on my property and take something that is not theirs. Who do they think they are? A person would have to carry that chair over the top of his head and walk through briers uphill to get the chair out of the woods. Perhaps someone was out hunting and thought the wind dropped a chair in the middle of the forest, free for the taking. Now, we've resorted to posting ugly “Private Property- No Trespassing” signs.
  More than the loss of the chair (which was a gift from my parents), I grieved over the violation of our Quiet Place, our safe haven. So, depression (more like sadness), mixed with a little fear, came. Why would someone do such a thing? If they wanted a chair that badly, all they had to do was ask. They took more than the chair. They took my feeling of safety. I thought this would be a wonderful place to let my boy loose to roam and have adventures. Now, someone will have to go with him, carry protection, and constantly scan the area.
  Acceptance followed. While we still take extra safety precautions, we do not live in fear. God inspired us to make the trail. He meant for us to enjoy it. He is the one who supplies all our needs and gives us a peace that passes all understanding. God's grace reminded me about forgiving those who trespass against me.
  We haven’t replaced the chair yet. But when we do, we’ll have a sign similar to this one hanging over it.

  What about you? Has someone trespassed against you? If you hold onto anger or hurt—you lose peace. Grieve if you must, but keep moving towards forgiveness. Your hope is in the Lord.