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Beyond the Grey Sky
By Stephen M.
age: 15

It had been another long, stressful week of school, but it was finally Friday, the best day of the week. Fridays were the transition from an aggravating week of school to the relaxing break that is the weekend.

I had even more reason to be excited for the weekend because I was going to the beach for the weekend. Our youth group at church was having a retreat in Surfside. After the strenuous week of school and homework, a weekend at the beach was exactly what I needed.

School can be stressful, but that week seemed even more so than usual. I had been staying up late every night trying to finish homework and by the end of the week, I was a sleepless mess. My week of wreck caused the trip to be even more fun and relaxing. The whole weekend was about relaxing for me, not specifically looking to be closer to God.

We met at the church and I was really ecstatic about the trip. The youth group took a bus, but some of the high school guys and I rode separately in the van. I was sitting behind a guy that was also named Stephen, but who was relatively new to our church. The whole way to Surfside we talked and became friends. This weekend was already awesome, except for the grey skies.

Even though it was in the 50s and there were high winds at the beach, I dared to go into the water that night, only to receive numb feet. We ate pizza and just hung out at the beach house for a while and then it was time for worship.

I had come on this trip to relax and I was pretty bummed about worship. Worship was led by Frank, a cool guy who went to our church and played guitar. That night, everything seemed right. I felt so connected to God and understood that it was him that brought me to this place. He gives us relief when we really need it. All of the pressures of school, friends and parents were suddenly gone. It was just God and I. I knew everything was going to be alright.

The rest of the night was filled with hanging out with all my friends from church. All the high school guys just played poker, ate tons of junk food, and stayed up all night. The rest of the weekend was basically the same. We played Ultimate Frisbee and football and went skim-boarding.

The first night I heard our youth minister, Jason, say that he just wants us to chill this weekend and have fun with one another. That was exactly what I did. I realized that you donít need to have long worship services and prayer time to get closer to God. You can connect with him and praise him just by hanging out with friends. The most amazing part was that the weekend had no girl-drama whatsoever in the youth group. This was definitely a weekend to remember.

The new week started with homework and stress all over again at school. It didnít matter to me, I was finally able to see beyond the grey sky.

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