"All in all, it was a never-to-be-forgotten summer - one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going - one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful doings, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world." ...from Anne's House of Dreams by L. M. Montgomery
When I came across those words in L.M. Montgomery's book, I knew exactly what she was writing about. Josh and I both had experienced one of those summers as FSU orientation leaders...the summer of 1999.
Maybe it was that the 30+ orientation leaders formed an instant family...a family who gave each of its members a sense of unconditional belonging... a family of competitive games of "Spades" that lasted well into the night...a family who spent evenings walking barefoot to every fountain on campus and spent free time playing beach volleyball in front of the dorm...a family whose members would volunteer for dreaded "Landis duty" just so they could hang out with those who unfortunately earned Landis duty for being late or not having their shirt tucked in appropriately.
Maybe it was being a part of the rich history of such an incredible university...a history that begins in the early 1800s and is intertwined with both domestic and international wars, with the discovery of disease treating agents, with the development of internationally recognized technology in weather and hurricane tracking, with Nobel Prize Winners, with strong athletic programs, but even stronger research and academic programs, and the list goes on. It's a history dense with tradition of which we were honored to become a part.
Maybe it was meeting Josh and falling in love... spending every second of free time sitting in the Oak Tree outside of Bryan Hall, or going way out of the way just so we could ride the "Garnet" or "Gold" bus a few more stops together, or walking around Lake Ella after discussing our faith, or listening to the other leaders tease us about how much we talk together, or getting busted by the FSU Police Officer as we kissed on the roof of Opperman Music Hall, or eating together in the disgusting campus cafeteria, or sharing leftover "Forgotten Cookies" from my cousin's wedding as we waited out a midnight dorm fire drill, or having our first "alone" date at Bennigan's on Appalachee Parkway.
Whatever specific thing it was, if there was just one thing, that made that summer incredible, I don't know what it was. But the words of L.M. Montgomery captured my feelings and memories of that summer more eloquently than I ever could. Josh and I were just reminiscing those times the other day and we realized that we may never experience that kind of community, that kind of intense sense of belonging, again...at least not on earth. No matter what amazing things we have yet to experience, that summer...that almost-perfect summer...will always have a special place in out hearts.