What we’re reading: The Forgiveness Garden

There is a hard law…When an injury is done to us, we never recover until we forgive. ~Alan Paton

forgivenessgardenOn a recent trip to the library one of the books on display was The Forgiveness Garden by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Christy Hale.  I don’t know how the librarians choose which books to put on display, as they rarely seem related to the season or even to each other.  In the adult stacks, I tend to look at all the titles on the shelves, but in the children’s section I almost always choose from the books on display.  I don’t know if the volume of picture books is too overwhelming or if the spines are too small to read, but unless I am doing research or looking for something specific I simply don’t bother.

While the cover art wasn’t that enticing for me, I couldn’t pass up a book with that title.  After a quick look, I wasn’t planning to read the book to my kids because it seemed more violent than what I would ordinarily choose for them, especially as a bedtime story.  But I decided to go for it, and I’m glad I did.

The Forgiveness Garden is the story of two feuding families.  During one of their disputes, a boy threw a rock and hit a girl from the other family, and tempers flared.

But when presented with the opportunity for revenge, she chose empathy and forgiveness.  

She encouraged her attacker to join her in planting a garden for both families to enjoy and remind them of their shared humanity.

The book was inspired by two gardens of forgiveness, one in Beirut Lebanon and one at Ground Zero in New York City.  A movement towards planting these gardens has sprung up, and there are now over a dozen such gardens around the world.  The organization spearheading this effort, Forgive to Give, describes its mission:

“to create a world beyond violence, with gardens as venues for conflict transformation and healing in communities around the world as well as vehicles through which [they] raise awareness about the power of forgiveness.”

I am intrigued by the idea of creating a Virtual Garden of Forgiveness.  It would be amazing to have an accessible and safe online space where people could explore their wounding and work through their struggles.  Another project for another day…..

Any web developers out there interested in working on something like this?