It’s been said that people cling to religion during big moments of tragedy, and although I hate to be a part of a cliché, the same was true for me. Even so, I was raised a Christian. My grandparents were/are devout believers and I had always gone to the small Christian academy down the road where I lived in Florida. In most aspects, my high school life was dull outside of the occasional mischief.
Being the small school it was, the juniors and seniors of my academy were connected with sister schools for classes and field trips. During my junior year, we took a trip to visit our sister school in Orlando and had a fun week there. It was a boarding academy, so we stayed right on campus. I was excited for this trip since it included a Disney trip, actually fun community service, and a trip to the beach.
I don’t swim. I don’t know how to. But being a Floridian, you must love the beach. And so, I did. I knew I would have the chance to tan, try the doggy-paddle or (give the illusion of it), and hang with friends around the sand and salty air. The ocean offers beauty, chaos, and encompassing terror.
After my classmate passed away to the ocean, and I almost did, I began to reach out to the guy upstairs out of pain, for help, and eventually gratitude, instead of my family’s habits.
Still keeping the Branchedor family in prayer.