Your heart is welcome here.
These words are emblazoned across the sign outside the door and across the backs of the t-shirts for sale. And they aren’t just words. They are the reason for HEARTCAMP.
I didn’t know just how much I needed a space where my heart would be welcomed. Welcomed as it is, not for what it can become. Welcomed in its entirety with nothing held back.
I’ve spent most of my life unsure of my heart. From the age of 11, my addiction convinced me my heart was too dirty. In college, my spiritual leaders repeated a verse from Jeremiah so often it became ingrained in my brain: “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.” (17:9, NLT) A friend once told me guys weren’t expressing interest in me because I was “too intense” and they were intimidated by my confidence in my plans for the future.
Since then, I’ve learned to keep the fullness of my heart hidden, even from myself. I haven’t trusted the light my heart holds. I’ve been scared of how the world might receive it. I’ve been afraid my heart is too much… too much for me; too much for others.
So when someone I admire for sharing his heart with the world decided to invite a group of 40 people to the beach for a weekend of HEARTCAMP, I was skeptical but knew I needed to be there.
Because he lives this idea of welcoming hearts, Jamie Tworkowski accomplished his goal of creating a space where ours were truly welcome. Every session gave us the opportunity to understand our hearts better and to share them with the people we were just beginning to know. Beyond the sessions, his interactions, no matter how brief, allowed others to share their hearts.
And the rest of us followed his example. Some people shared parts of their stories with the whole group; some shared with one or two others. Strangers became friends, and our lives will never be the same.
I still don’t have the words to talk about what it meant to be in this space. The closest I can get is to paraphrase something Denny Koslch said during his session:
You are necessary
You exist to an end
It is necessary for you
And for the world
That you figure out
This is what I needed to hear. I’ve heard it before, expressed with other words. But I needed to hear it again. And I’ll probably need to continue to hear it over and over again.
I need to hear it as I learn how to welcome my own heart.
I need to hear it as I learn how to bring my whole heart to everything I do.
I need to hear it as I work to create space where others’ hearts are welcome.
Perhaps you need to hear it, too.
You are necessary.
And your heart is welcome here.