I glance out side. I see the sun reflecting off of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. I remember climbing to the top of the Museum - experiencing that glass finger pointing upward, a dramatic symbol of hope.
It’s a elegant mountain encased in glass.
Perfect. If I had 100 billion dollars, I’d borrow me some of the design ideas from the Museum and build me a Healing Forgiveness Centre close to the Winnipeg airport on the way to Stony Mountain.
Here, I'm going to dream a bit. What would an ideal Forgiveness/Healing Centre look like remembering that the sensitive heart- the holding tank for all relational and emotional communications- needs to feel completely safe in order to forgive.
To begin with the second floor --- the heart floor -- would be filled with conversational pits – chairs, coffee tables, sofas, pillows and throw blankets - all arranged to fit every conversational need. Off to one side there would be little conference rooms for support meetings - some with picture windows some with mood lighting.
And then off to other side there would be a "sand tray" room lined with shelves of little "life symbol" ornaments galore. Hovering close by there would be therapists skilled in the art of sand trays – a magical story telling method that digs deep into the unconscious levels of life’s plots and needs.
There would be rooms for circles - another form of telling story. These would be facilitated by another group of people "circle holders"– people skilled in shaping circle conversations and versed in the role of talking sticks or talking stones to keep the conversations safe and equalized.
Then perhaps on a balcony betwixt – there would be recording booths, state of the art technology – an introduction to the StoryVault Reunion Registry. I’m presuming this would be a huge computer system but I think it would also need to have a symbolic presence – to help give the feeling of secure safe keeping. Perhaps the balcony would look much like a bank with tellers and protocol – passwords - to keep the process safe and neutral.
For the prisoners from Stony Mountain, there might need to be an underground safe passage in and out for the criminally defined to also have access to the StoryVault. There would be no one too fragile or too violent to have access to the StoryVault.
To feel the love as communicated through the five love languages there would need to be a gift shop with enticing little symbols of all that pertains to love. Everyone would be given a free bracelet of love beads or any other seasonal party favors.
The walls – all walls from the hallways to bathroom stalls - would need to be decorated with scripted words and quotes - promising encouragement and inspiration and validation of love.
This entire floor would need to be hosted by sanguine conversationalists as greeters at the door who would be trained to touch discreetly – the quick hug, the pat on the shoulder – all with good warning and permission.
There would be waiter types that would serve coffee and doughnuts to whoever would need a refreshment - for those who need to be served in order to feel special.
There would be tour guides for those who need quality time - to go on a pilgrimage. Since our climate isn't conducive to year round outdoor activities - a pilgrimage experience could be captured by walking on treadmills in a panoramic movie theatre with soft music accompanied by scenes of the Camino de Santiago - the ultimate pilgrimage of broken hearts.
There would would need to be another theatre that would play only classic forgiveness stories.
Oh yes, and every emotion - 70 in total if not more - would be identified, explored and expressed with gentleness. There would be kleenex boxes everywhere and sound proof booths for the screamers.
This would be the perfect place to showcase my daughter's 490 crocheted tears installation art piece, that could be surrounded with little studio tables for people to create their own artistic tears - giving them permission to cry and cry and cry some more.
This floor would be a place where the power of storytelling , like streams of living water, would surge or trickle.. As reminders, this floor would be decorated with white ribbons symbolic of the victim/trauma bond being recycled to healing connections of love. White bows, ribbons of white would be the theme - worn by the participants and flowing like streamers from one room to the next.
There would also need to be also those who police the boundaries of apologies and confessions – those in tune to the ultimate forgiveness moments when the "heart meets heart " These moment of connection would need to be celebrated. For this there would need to be a story wall - much like a wailing wall - decorated with stickies documenting the personal forgiveness journeys.
To enable the flow of seekers traveling from one floor to the next, there would need to be a glass elevator between the floors.
To forgive another person from the heart is an act of liberation. We set that person free from the negative bonds that exist between us. We say, “I no longer hold your offense against you” But there is more. We also free ourselves from the burden of being the “offended one.” As long as we do not forgive those who have wounded us, we carry them with us or, worse, pull them as a heavy load. The great temptation is to cling in anger to our enemies and then define ourselves as being offended and wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other but also ourselves. It is the way to the freedom of the children of God.- Henry Nouen