Semester Sunsets


Summit Semester Jay ReidAbout a week ago, I decided to finally take the trek up “cell phone ridge”, as it’s affectionately called. This short and steep hike was supposed to have some of the best views in the area. I had just finished eating dinner, had an hour to spare before evening class, so I thought, “why not?” (Yes, hiking right after eating is always a great plan)

That evening I got to experience one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. The almost 360-degree view enabled you to watch the sun set, with its red, orange, and yellow colors, while at the same time watch the moon rise, with its mix of blue and purple tints. Completely gorgeous.

Thanks to the Alumni Weekend, (a mini-weekend reunion for previous Summit Semester Students), and thoughtful evenings I’ve had (such as the sunset last week), I’m realizing that the half-way point is finally here. Wow. Time has flown by fast. And, in typical fashion, it’s made me think, “Why am I here?” and “How have I grown?”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know for a fact that I should be here. But sometimes even I don’t know all of the reasons for the situations I find myself in. For me, I don’t want to waste my time here: I want to make the most of it! So processing through those questions is a good way for me to set priorities. Honestly, I don’t have all the answers to my questions, but I definitely know some things that I’ve learned and will continue to learn.

For one thing, I’ve discovered more about myself: Being an extrovert, I never even considered that being stuck in a lodge out of the middle of nowhere with 28 other students could create problems.

Ha. How hilarious of me.

I may be good for a week or two, but I’ve learned that even an extrovert like me needs recharging time.

Secondly, I’ve learned how much I haven’t learned. How ironic, right? We have been so often fed answers to questions, without doing any research into the why and how: in other words, we don’t really know what we know! This realization has helped me to begin to actually think through questions, as opposed to just regurgitating the answers I’ve heard.

I’ve also gained a new love of learning. Dr. Bauman’s classes have given me an interest in English Literature and Church History I never had before. When Dr. Bauman teaches literature, he doesn’t just talk about the author: he gives background information that brings perspective to stories he shares. For example, when Dr. Bauman went over The Canterbury Tales, we didn’t just talk about Geoffrey Chaucer and his work: we went in-depth into medieval history and belief, in order to understand the culture that the literature was born into.

Lastly, and certainly not the least, I’ve been reinvigorated in my own life. To be honest, I was pretty burnt out when I arrived. Work and School had pretty much drained the little Energizer Bunny inside of me. But through simple things, like washing dishes and work crews, or through John Stonestreet’s lectures on Culture, I’ve been reminded of the value of work. (I know that Mom will rejoice after reading about my newfound appreciation of dishes.)

Tony and Nathan (the property managers here at Snow Wolf Lodge) have also been discussing the value of work with us before work crews. Through those talks I’ve been encouraged to view work as a redemptive action, in which I can, in a small sense, bring about Christ’s Kingdom. The question then becomes, “What can I do to improve where I work?”

Remember that sunset I told you about? Well, a couple days later, I was able to introduce the same beautiful view to two other fellow students. As I saw their enjoyment of the Sunset, it made me think of the whole experience here. My time here has been amazing, in some ways just like the sunset. I only hope that, like the sunset, I can in some way share this experience with others when I return home.

Because truth, like a beautiful sunset, is meant to be shared.

Jay Reid trekked out to Summit Semester from Maryland. As his studies progress, he plans to enroll in Liberty University Online, where he will complete his degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Life Coaching. Jay is looking forward to using this background in either the coaching or counseling fields. Either way, inspiring and encouraging others is his goal. During his time at Summit Semester, Jay would like to deepen his relationship with Christ and as a result, continue learning how to live out his faith. When he has free time, you’ll probably find Jay on the piano, either playing a favorite song or composing a new one. Odds are, he’ll also be looking for an excuse to spend quality time with people.