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Friday, January 9, 2009

Day Six - Make the Library Your New Year's Resolution

On New Year's Day, I attended a church service and then started a car trip to visit my parents. Feeling frustrated because I left my iPod on the kitchen counter, I resorted to listening to the radio, not one of my favorite pastimes. On this particular day, however, I heard a song I needed to hear right at that moment, even though it was originally released about 20 years ago. It's called "The Heart of the Matter" and it was written and performed by Don Henley, also drummer, vocalist and writer for ├╝ber-popular band, The Eagles. It's that repetitive yet crucial refrain that gets me every time:
"I've been trying to get down to the heart of the matter, 'cause my will gets weak and my thoughts seem to scatter but I think it's about forgiveness, forgiveness, even if, even if you don't love me anymore."
As Alexander Pope famously said, "To err is human, to forgive divine." How many times do we find ourselves standing face to face with someone we love but are now challenged to forgive? And how much harder is it to forgive our "enemies," which many of us are called to do by our particular religious faith? It's never easy and the situation can be soul-wrenching and life-changing. If you find yourself meditating on love and forgiveness from time to time, let me urge you to attend some upcoming programs at DPPL, focusing on that curious and often awkward tango between love and the need/desire to forgive.

First, on Wednesday, January 14 at 7 PM, Jim Kenney, social justice activist and co-founder of Common Ground, will reflect on his extensive experience in South Africa with the "Truth and Reconciliation Commission." (Couldn't we use one of those in Illinois right now?) Learn more about Jim's experiences with the commission and its emergence as a new model of conflict resolution in an evolutionary period on human history. Love and forgiveness on a very grand scale. Register for this free program here.

Throughout the coming months we're also offering special Love and Forgiveness-themed book discussions. These will generally take place on the third Thursday of the month, although the first will be on the fourth Thursday, January 22, from 7:30-9 PM. Titles to be discussed include
Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen, The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, Shakespeare's play A Winter's Tale and the poems of Rumi. Olivia Cronk, adjunct faculty member at Oakton Community College, will lead these discussions on how time and experience can lead to forgiveness in the presence of wisdom, and how wisdom can emerge. Look for the book discussions nights on our Events calendar and sign up - you may walk away with a new understanding of love and forgiveness and experience something powerful in being able to share that with others at the book discussions.

Oh, and if you always liked that Don Henley song, too, you can find his CDs here and check them out.

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