To my surprise, one of the guests at the Marin Interfaith Council Annual Meeting last month was an old friend of mine I haven't seen since 1965 (no, that date is not a typo), an attorney named Bob Plath. Bob has founded the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance. WFA sponsors International Forgiveness Day on the first Sunday of August each year.
I asked Bob what was behind his founding this group. He said it was a lot of things, but much concerned his relationship with his father, his anger at his father after father's death. He says forgiveness can be hard. I can attest to the truth of that.
Forgiveness doesn't mean we forget. It doesn't mean that we expose ourselves again to sources of potential hurt or harm. Without working towards forgiveness, we drag along all kinds of old, cumbersome, unnecessary emotional baggage that impedes our forward momentum. Our growth. Forgiveness benefits the forgiver more than the forgiven.
Between now and August 5th, think of someone or something you are willing to forgive, including yourself. Write a message of forgiveness -- a letter, prayer, or a simple statement -- and send it to the Temple of Forgiveness at firstname.lastname@example.org. These messages will be taken to Nevada's Black Rock Desert where a magnificent "Temple of Forgiveness" is being built this summer as part of the Burning Man Festival. The messages will be placed in the Temple and consecrated for individual and planetary healing. As is the custom, on the last night of the Festival, the Temple and all of its contents will be ceremonially burned.
Please consider joining others around the globe on Sunday, August 8, 2007, in a ceremony of your own creation or by simply gathering and talking about the value of forgiveness. I know I will -- in Amherst, Massachusetts at MerryMeet.