Into the Fire

semester-lucybaker-2016Well, this has been a fun evening. Our first real day of classes here at Summit Semester. We began in Church History and English Literature this morning, and then after a day of reading our many books, and sports time, closed the evening with a lesson in Politics. Or shall I say, discussion in Politics.

I believe it is a true statement to say that yesterday, most of us were terrified of classes beginning, and of the famed “Dr. Bauman” entering into the relaxed schedule of our daily lives. We had all grown to like our new home, tucked away in the mountains of Colorado; back a long, terribly bumpy and dusty road, filling our days with fun and free time and deep discussions. Now this man, whom some of us had heard terrifying stories of, was coming in to ruin it all, we thought.  The thirty of us stuck close together as the hour approached, nervously pacing and fidgeting with our notebooks. Eventually, after some confusion, we were all seated in the correct lodge.

The door opened. We all turned – and then back around. “He’s here.” Last glances were exchanged as he approached our cluster. Realizing there had been no gap left open for him to get into the middle, I tried scooting my chair back to let him in…and dumped the chair over. I tried to breathe normally. My head was totally not working, and I prayed he wouldn’t call on me for any reason – as I’m sure everyone else was – in this introductory meeting. He didn’t. But I still felt sick.

Afterwards, we escaped into little clusters and whispered our impressions. Some were relieved that “he wasn’t as bad as they had expected;” that didn’t seem to help my situation, though. I went to bed.

My devotions this morning were filled with, “Oh God, please help me today; please give me a clear mind; please help me to be able to think.” He did. I have been so hyped this week with how quickly and sufficiently He has been answering my prayers (or pleas). Every time I sit down to pray, I get a big grin on my face.

Classes began this morning; after long discussions of where everyone was to sit. We all felt the pain of the first one called on. But it wasn’t that bad. Actually, he was quite reasonable; not so terrifying after all. Still, there was some cringing and silence after being trapped. By the next class, we were more comfortable. There were more hands up. We were interjecting our comments and opinions. The final conversation, of how one is to read and process a book, and which books, was taken to lunch and had at every table. We got our breather this afternoon, which was spent reading books and then playing volleyball.

Everyone was a little more light-hearted as we swung merrily into class and plopped down after supper. But Politics. We weren’t sure what we thought of this whole ‘getting asked about politics’ thing. The discussion revolved around poverty, welfare, and our job, as Christians. Several of us talked and answered questions, including myself. Praise the Lord, my mind and thought processes had been clear the whole time. As the hour wore on, some of us became more confident and challenged back, turning it from a lecture to some form of a debate. Then Dr. Bauman started joking around and throwing out sarcastic remarks – and some threw them back. The conversations were taking interesting turns.

Smiles spread. We looked at each other, giggling silently. Someone laughed. Another remark was made. We all laughed. Bouncing off of each other, our class worked itself into a red faced mass of hooting laughter. One fell out of his chair and was pulled back up, gasping for breath. After a few minutes, we were able to regain our attentive little student faces – for the most part – and focus again.

It was good to laugh. Very good. It was good to have the tension released and be able to die laughing with this Dr., of whom, twenty-four hours before, we had been terrified of. This was only the first day, yes, and I’m sure there are many hard ones to come, but I couldn’t have hoped for a better beginning to these three months.

Mr. Dustin has told us that this first month is going to be the honeymoon month, where we’re all in love with one another; next month, it will be more difficult; and the third, and last month, will never want to leave one another. Still, I’m pretty ecstatic about getting to spend three months with these people. At the end, having thirty-six new siblings.

There has been much talk of ‘staying in shape,’ or ‘getting in shape,’ for some; determined not to gain that freshman fifteen. We’ve been joking that with the amount of hiking we’ve been doing, that won’t be a problem. For that matter, with the amount of energy and oxygen it takes to get from the sports field, back up to the lodge, that really won’t be a problem.

Wednesday was our annual ‘Cross Hike,’ where we trekked up to a cross, erected by the first class in 2006. Let me tell you, that was a tough climb! I loved the invigorating energy it gave me, though. After repairing another cross at the top and getting group pictures, we headed down the hillside – and when I say side, I mean it. With little to no trail, we pushed our way through the tall bushes, carefully sliding sideways, in a long, snaking line, down to lunch. We were all sunburned and scratched….and exhausted.  But it had been great.

I know God is going to bring amazing transformations over all of us in the coming months. We will grow in our understanding of knowledge and be challenged on how to go about thinking through concepts and ideas. We will learn what it means to love with the love of Christ and to encourage and strengthen one another by His power, and not our own. All of us have our own unique stories with their trials and joys, and we – the thirty of us – have been chosen to be trapped together and grow together for three months. I can’t wait to see how we all come out.

Lucy Baker, a recent high school graduate, made her way to Summit Semester from Westmoreland, Tennessee. She loves combining her strong work ethic and love for things that grow by cultivating gardens that are both beautiful and offer delicious produce in return for her dedicated care. The active imagination that shaped her childhood has matured into a passion for telling stories through theater – both in front and behind the scenes. She has a gift for finding beauty in things that others have passed over. Lucy’s enthusiasm for the power of drama and film to communicate in an inviting and creative way is informed by her passion for truth. She enjoys seeking spiritual truth through prayer, intensive Bible study, and discussions on doctrine and theology.