But the heights of joy serving the needs of the rescue community after 9/11 were soon to be matched by the depths of despair. With over 240+ days exposure at the site, Harris was diagnosed with severe PTSD, depression, and compromised lung function. Becoming bitter and increasingly isolated, the combination of adverse circumstances and mistakes he made would cost him his marriage, his home, and his career. He would spend years in darkness. But through the loving encouragement of friends, the mercy of God, and the kindness of his community, he found a new start through the healing power of forgiveness. For the first time he heard with his heart the wisdom of Nelson Mandela, that “Not to forgive is like drinking poison and waiting for your enemies to die from it.” With a new lease on life and the zeal of a convert, Harris found his new mission: to teach about the healing power of forgiveness.
Harris’ work has been covered by many news organizations including the NY Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CBS News, NBC News, CNN, Time Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, Germany’s Die Zeit, and others. Harris’ work on a Garden of Forgiveness for Ground Zero in NYC has been featured in the award winning documentary, “The Power of Forgiveness” (Journey Films: 2006).
Harris directs the educational initiative, the Gardens of Forgiveness, dedicated to teaching forgiveness as a tool for personal wellness, conflict transformation, and coping with public tragedy.