I have gotten about a dozen people to read it and have gotten very different reviews. I would be so grateful if someone would read it. Thank you
Flooding out of the bus after being held hostage, we thought we were free. The blanket of snow hid them from sight, showing nothing but their masked faces. We quickly shuffled towards the only building in sight, an abandoned shack with gargoyle-like statues watching our every move. This would quickly turn into the best time of my life.
No, this was not a horror story that miraculously became a paradise. My classmates and I were entering through the doors into the retreat called Search. Each Gonzaga Prep Junior takes part in this weekend long, life changing retreat. My turn came on February 24th.
After anxiously getting off the bus, we walked into the foyer where we were instructed to gather our things and head upstairs to settle in our rooms. Immediately as my roommate Peter and I walked through the door, we saw posters made by our families plastered with dozens of pictures. Taken aback by these flabbergasting posters that left us with nothing but a smirk grin, we sat on our bed reading the hand written comments that painted the collage.
Disturbing the silence, the blaring of some outdated, adult-alternative song sent us back downstairs into the chapel. Here we were given some boundaries regarding the Search Bears and where they were guarding. Along with these miscellaneous guidelines, each of us was to choose a rock and in some cases a small boulder. This rock and I were to be inseparable. As quickly as we filled the chapel, it was time now to leave and go to bed.
A gentle knock on the door, the crack in the curtains filling the room with a soft white light, the smell of sausage and ham, my day was about to get even better. After finishing breakfast and doing some small group activities with our senior leader, Mr. McKenna gave a rather unusual command, Go get your rain gear and get comfortable in the chapel. I figured the rain gear was a metaphor but I wouldnt need it, I dont cry.
Curled up in my sleeping bag, propped up against a step leading to the altar, my rock was digging into my side. A candle was in the middle of the chapel with everyone circling it. Looks of confusion filled the room until Max got up, grabbed the candle and sat back down. Nothing was said for what seemed like hours until the silence was broken. Max started talking, but until Trevor had the candle I didnt realize we were sharing the things that had hurt us the most.
One by one, everyone in the circle had an opportunity to share. So caught up in what some of my best friends were saying, I didnt realize that my turn was next. Once handed the candle, all cognitive abilities seized. After my train wreck of a thought was over and the candle was out of my possession, it started to rain. Gathering my composure, it was time to get rid of this burden that had been with me all weekend. Stirring from the safety of my sleeping bag, I released this entity manifested in a rock.
Crying a bit more, everyone was exhausted. This hurt circle was done and, after hugs were exchanged, we made our way back to our rooms where brown paper bags with our names were waiting. Upon opening, I began reading letters from friends and family that had ever had a part in shaping who I was. It was snowing.
Music was emanating from the chapel once again. This time is wasnt some blaring song that I would learn to tune out, it was our Search song. Swim by Jacks Mannequin. This song stands for everything that is my life. It is more than just a harmony and lyrics mushed together. My taste for music broadened. My respect for music was forever heightened. Search was not just some retreat that taught me to be nice to other people. No. Search changed me. It changed the perception of the people around me. Who cares if we are similar, everyone is human and like me need not be judged.