i volunteer for a grief and bereavement camp for young people every summer. at this camp we have developed programs to help young people deal with their intense feelings of loss. on the last day, we take all the campers to a nearby rock pile. we pass out markers and invite them to pick stones and write their secrets on them. we then have them carry their ‘burdens’ with them, in their pockets, in their backpacks, in their hands for the rest of the day. when evening comes, we hike to a river and invite the campers to drop or throw their rocks into the rushing water.
some campers become very emotional as they physically ‘release’ their secrets. during this ritual i am always stunned by the few campers who refuse to let go of their stones. tired from carrying them all day, they return to camp still clutching them. some take them home on the bus the next morning as if the secrets are part of who they are.
a lifetime of secrets, compiled by frank warren.
this secret causes several emotions to well up within me.
i think it brings healing to release our burdens, our secrets. i almost start to cry when i read this part of releasing because it is so touching.
but then i am haunted by the last part of this secret.
our secrets do not define us;
they do not have to dictate our behavior.
they are not our identity,
even though we often believe contrary.
ultimately, the decision is ours…to harbor our secrets or release them.