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November 19, 2008

Making Plans

Making Plans

I remember reading the blogs of last year's Summit Semester students when I was looking into applying for the program. The most memorable one (it may, in all actuality, be the only one I read. I don't really recall), said something along the lines of, "A piece of advice: never mention in conversation at mealtimes how few days we have left here. It will only emit groans and dampen the mood of your dining experience." It's funny that this one thing stuck with me. Even before I had an idea of what I might be doing when I got here, I knew that I apparently wouldn't want to leave. Apparently there would be a great deal of things that would make me want to stay. I would like to thank whoever wrote that. It gave me the best preparation I could have received, and I can't get it out of my head. You spoke the truth--this place is a special one.

It is about to become one hundred percent more special. I just learned that upwards of seventy people are planning to spend their Thanksgiving holiday at Snow Wolf Lodge. That is a frightening thought; this place sometimes seems crowded with thirty-seven. However, despite my fears, I think they're coming anyways, and coming by the hoards. A few days ago, the cooks put up a list of necessary (and unnecessary--we'll get to this in a moment), food items needed for the Thanksgiving smorgasbord. They left room for us to sign up, volunteering our time and recipes to help out. I felt myself very charitable for agreeing to make a single sweet potato casserole, but then Olivia informed me she had signed up to make ten pies. "Could you help?" I was stunned. "Ten pies? Good night, Olivia... (silence) yes, I'll help." Needless to say, we are a generous bunch--perhaps unnecessarily so. If any of you parents decided not to join us for Thanksgiving on account of a potential scarcity of desserts, book a flight; I can assure you, there will be enough pie to go around.

But cooking plans are not the only ones we're making. It seems like every day someone asks me what I'm doing in the spring. He actually means, "What are you going to do the minute that you walk into your house?" I don't really know the answer to either question, and when I ask him the same, he doesn't either, but we all speculate. We are all making plans, and we hope they will appropriately accommodate the changes we have undergone since our arrival. Some of these plans involve one another. I anticipated meeting people here who would greatly affect me, and I have not been disappointed. Bonds have formed, and they're pulling us all different places. Maybe the bonds pull you simply to a specific seat at the dinner table, or maybe they're pulling you to Saskatchewan for the summer (speaking hypothetically, sort of. It's Canada or bust for me, Tim and Colleen). Either way, it has been sweet to see the effects this family has had on its members. We copy one another (I have been known to say "ya'll" on occasion); we grow more similar every day. And it is not just our plans that begin to align; our convictions are beginning to do the same.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if we stayed here. What if these plans that we're making never come to fruition because we opt to stay in seclusion? Well, I think we'd have a blast eating pie together for the rest of our lives, but I think a lot of other people would be at a disadvantage. One of the greatest compliments I have ever received came from a student here. He said, "I find myself, when praying for people here, praying that God would send you into more people's lives who are like me. We've got a lot to learn from you." I think that's true of every single student here. People have a lot to learn from you, friends, and will only benefit from your presence in their lives. It has meant a great deal to me that I got to do life with you all for three months, but I think perhaps we should now look to see where this semester takes us. I feel certain it will bring us to things greater than we ever could have planned.

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