Three weeks ago, I waved goodbye to home and family, and boarded a plane bound for Colorado. Little did I know a home at Snow Wolf Lodge and my new Semester family awaited me.
My time at Summit Semester thus far has been as harrowing of an adventure as the night of my arrival. Let me paint you a picture. Four other students and I (Joe, Bronwyn, John, and Josh) met up in Manitou and caravanned together to Pagosa Springs.
After four hours driving through the winding mountains in the torrential rain, our excitement peaked as we neared the Lodge. “You have arrived at your destination” said the GPS as our cars sat parked on a dark trail with nothing ahead and nothing behind. We figured though the Lodge was not in sight, we had to at least be close. We drove on. That is, until one of the vehicles got stuck in the mud. Determined still to make it to the Lodge, we walked barefoot on the rocky path a mile uphill, where we dismally discovered once more that we had not arrived. We walked back, managed to get the smaller of the cars turned around on the hill, and drove back down the trail where we at last saw the sign for Snow Wolf Lodge we had previously passed by. Weary travelers, we made it to our destination in the darkness of the night, feet covered in mud, and grins on our faces. Needless to say, after this adventure, I knew my experience at Semester would be one for the books.
Once settled in, I was able to absorb and awe at the fantastic surroundings. Each morning when I walk out of my room, I breathe in the sweet mountain air. My eyes are met with the sight of aspens and the jagged shadows of distant mountains, and I am filled with gratitude. At night, a multitude of stars light up the sky. Shooting stars travel from one end to the other and quickly disappear. If you don’t watch closely, you’ll miss it. The earth here is pure, a beautiful reminder of God’s constant goodness and provision.
Not only do I get to experience the beauty of Colorado, I get to experience the beauty of living in deep existence with others. In Life Together, Bonhoeffer explains, “Christians are privileged to live in the visible fellowship with other Christians…It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the Kingdom of God.” Living so closely with more than thirty others isn’t always easy. Patience and grace are tested. Yet, with this challenge comes a great reward: community. We love and lift one another up, whether in small groups, work crews, on the volleyball court, hiking up the mountains, or in the classroom. We are for each other. We are the body of Christ.
Lastly, I have been blessed in these three weeks with rediscovering the beautiful gift of learning. Our courses in Christian Theology, Politics, English Literature, and Hebrew are rich with detail and depth. We aren’t learning what to think, but how to think, an invaluable lesson. Dr. Bauman has an uncanny ability to challenge and reveal the weaknesses in your theology. Once our ideas and theologies have been dismantled, he walks with us, helping us rebuild on a more solid foundation. Dr. Myers described a true learning environment as one that inspires students forward with thinking and questioning, and does not hold them back. So here we are, the thirty two Semester students of 2015, learning to not shy away from questions or be afraid of the unknown, but to pursue truth fervently.
These past three weeks have been full of wild adventures, intellectual challenges, and growing friendships, and the amazing thing is, the best is yet to come.
Mary Kathryn Chambers is a native of St. Cloud, Florida. She is currently pursuing a degree in Human Communication from the University of Central Florida. In her endeavor to pursue her interests and goals, Mary Kathryn has been profoundly shaped by the example of her father, who has instilled in her a desire to work hard and labor for the glory of the Lord. Mary Kathryn is passionate about family life and desires to have one of her own. Additionally, she loves telling story through photography. When she graduates, Mary Kathryn seeks to invest in the lives of teenage girls, encouraging them to pursue personal purity, healthy community, and deeper faith in Christ.