July 20, 1997 – Sunday – 11:30 p.m.

On Saturday, I worked a lot on my screenplay.  Did I mention that I bought a word processor on the fourth of July?  I’m really enjoying it.

New summer theater people moved in today.  There are kids on my hall from ages 12 to 18, two guys and two girls.  And a new girl from Sanford moved in downstairs.

Church was great today, both the morning and evening services.  I’m really enjoying Brent’s teaching.  This evening Sharon and Paul had a cookout.  All of us guys went over and so did Sherlive.  She is such a cool girl.  There are times when I see her and I don’t think she is that pretty, but then she smiles and I find her so amazingly beautiful.  Bless her God.

Life is moving along.

Marisa is back.  She came and saw me first thing; she knows who cares.  She sees that her well being is important to me.  I hope she sees God in me and longs to be around Him.

Love never fails.

I’m looking forward to Jessica coming back.  As well as Amber and Monica.  My final year  at Lees-McRae is approaching quickly.  This room in Tennessee Dorm will only be my home for a little more than three weeks.

I’m excited about the leaves changing in three months.  As well as the snow coming afterwards.

1998.

How quickly my college years have flown by.

And how quickly the rest of my life will too.

July 18, 1997 – Friday – 10:30 a.m.

Last night I saw the film Contact.  It is without a doubt the most amazing film I have ever laid eyes upon.  While watching it, my body shook…I couldn’t believe I was actually seeing what I was seeing.  My eyes went on a roller coaster ride, as did my heart, but my soul has never been more frightened.

In fact, the song playing on the radio as I got out of the car, was the same song playing when I returned to the car.  It was almost like the whole movie never happened, or it was some weird out-of-body experience.

Contact is a perfect replica of how each individual on this planet who doesn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus feels as we approach the new millennium.  The world is looking so desperately for an answer, for a God.  The world cries for a savior that’s right before their eyes.  They look to the universe instead to the Creator of the universe.

I hope I can show people their Creator and how much he loves them.  Oh God.  This is scary, I am secure in you, but so many are lost and dying.  So many do not know true love.

Thank you for your true love God.

July 16, 1997 – Wednesday – 10:45 a.m.

Monday night was amazing.  Rebecca St. James puts on a wonderful concert!  There was an altar call during the concert and I went up.  I needed for God to break me and recreate me.  It’s time for me to grow to the next level.

Last night I was asked to drive some Alumni up to the top of Beech Mountain.  We met a tour guide up there and toured around the old Land of Oz.  There was a museum there with actual costumes and props from the movie.  We got to walk through the life size replica of Dorothy’s house, and we followed the yellow brick road.  Everything was just beautiful and amazing!  Realizing I was in a magical land in a small town that sits higher than any other town in the Eastern United States, I left the group and walked ahead on my own.

After I turned a corner I stopped and looked around since I was totally alone.  And there I saw what I thought was a statue of a deer.  Only the statue turned and looked at me, so I quickly realized it was a real deer.  I expected her to immediately run away, but instead she just bent down to eat some grass.

I took a step closer, still expecting her to run, but she didn’t.  She lifted up her head from the grass and looked me in the eyes.  I took a few more steps closer and then the deer walked closer to me.  She was so beautiful.

After a few more steps we were right in front of each other.  I knelt down and she took a step closer and sniffed my cheek and my mouth.

No fear.

Nothing.

She saw me for who I was and touched her nose to my face, then softly licked my cheek.

It was a taste of heaven.

No fear or hate.

Only love.

Love.

On this Wednesday morning a thunder storm is brewing over Banner Elk.  I can hear the thunder rolling now.  The skies are darkening.

The wind has caught up with this flower and broken it.

I am dying, only to be raised.

The wind will soon blow my petals to another land and there I will grow again.

But one thing is clear, God wanted me here in this land and in this time.  He brought me to these mountains to kiss me.  May your name forever be praised!

July 14, 1997 – Monday – 9:30 a.m.

Yesterday morning I led Sunday School.  The service was really great.  Brent, our new pastor, is hilarious.

We went grocery shopping after church, then headed to the park and had a cookout with two other youth groups from the area.

Jason was there with us.  We played Ultimate Frisbee and our team won.  It was a lot of fun.

Rebecca St. James is playing at Gardner Webb University tonight.  I called and reserved some tickets.  Dan, Allen, and possibly Kate are going with me.  I’m so excited!

Last night the youth group came over and we all watched That Thing You Do!

A girl named Sherlive also came over.  She will be a freshman in the fall.

I can’t wait until tonight!

July 12, 1997 – Saturday – 9:20 p.m.

We are back in Banner Elk.  After my entry last night, I feel asleep in Charlie’s newly purchased tent.  We got up early this morning and after I took a hike to Juneywhank Falls, we ate breakfast at McDonald’s, rented tubes and went tubing.  The tubing was great; the warm sun above us, the cool water below.  On the way out, I got a banana split with extra cherries.  And we ate at Pizza Hut and I stood on that ledge.

Again, it was the same picture.  And I can now move on with my life.

All that lies behind me, all those 21 years.  They are now simply a life already lived.  The majority of those days have been lived for God.  Some moments were not, they were lived for me.  All I have is this moment in front of me.

I have this desire to run out and say “hello” to every person I come across, but it is as if their own faces hold me back.

So many visits to that ancient creek and yet it never changes, only I do.

I am a little blonde haired boy changing into a smarter little blonde haired boy, wishing he knew nothing.

I think I’ve been doing this wrong.  I must have misunderstood.  I keep looking at myself. But all of these memories, all of these moments, they are nothing but a movie in my mind.  It’s like I’m tickling myself.  I use my life to create laughter in my own life.

To me it is everything, but it is nothing to others.

There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.  Ecclesiastes 1:11.

I am having fun, but what does that mean?

Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.  Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things, God will bring you to judgement.  So, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless.  Ecclesiastes 11:9, 10.

I will soon return to dust and no one will ever read this book I am writing about my life.

Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of a man.  Ecclesiastes 12:13.

What does God command of me?  He commands me to love him and love others.

Life is not about clothes, or movies, or brand names, or even these pages of my memory.

Life is not about money, music, or sex.

Life is not about beauty, long legs, or perfect breasts.

Life is not about me.

Life is about one thing:

Love.

Continually giving to and serving other people.

And I think I just now figured that out.

July 11, 1997 – Friday – 11:55 p.m.

I’m at Deep Creek.  Charlie got a call earlier today from Jason.  He was here the first semester of my Freshman year.  Well, he only lives 30 minutes down the road, so he met up with us and is going camping with us.

We set up camp, then drove to Cherokee and did some Go-Kart racing and played miniature golf.  We also drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway and told scary stories.

But on the way back, Allen bought some little cigars and he and Vince have been smoking.  Well, I guess they say they are only puffing on them, but I’m not sure of the difference.  Perhaps I’m weird, but it makes me uncomfortable.  I left and went on a walk.  When I came back, they wanted to go for a walk.  I was angry with them because of the cigars and for the fact that they peed on the ground and not in the restroom.  I’ve been coming here for several years and I know beautiful young girls like Emily walk around on this holy ground in their bare feet.  I couldn’t believe they would pee on the ground a few feet from the restroom.  Who does that?

While on my walk, I was flooded with memories.  Although it’s only been four years since I came here with Danny, Peter, Marcus, and Kevin, they are the ones who fit this place the best.  My dear friends I’m with now don’t know the unspoken rules of this place.  They don’t know how it’s supposed to work or how it’s supposed to feel.

While walking, I remembered precious moments with Syndi and Emily.  I even remembered the days with Brandon and all he did was flirt with every girl he saw.  Jonathan came with me once.  Then all the family reunions I’ve had here.

But I think I had the most fun with Syndi.  This land will always be tied to those precious days of us walking hand in hand in these woods.

These guys here now simply don’t belong.  They have no idea.  They don’t know what each mountain tree and rock means to me.  This place is my home; as much as any other place in the world.

July 11, 1997 – Friday – 8:00 a.m.

We leave today at 2:00 p.m. to spend 24 hours at Deep Creek near Bryson City, NC.  I just read about my last Deep Creek trip two years ago with Syndi.  We sure knew how to have fun.  I was her “hubby” for that trip.  Each time I visit, I stand above that never-changing scene next to the Pizza Hut in town.  And there I seem to let everything go.  I say goodbye to the previous year and I feel good about leaving it behind in my Book of Days.

Three years ago on this date I was arrived in Deep Creek.  I thought I was there to say goodbye and I did in a way, but I said goodbye to the Deep Creek of the past.  Now I go with a different group of people and with different friends.

Because, I am different.

Lees-McRae and Banner Elk are now a part of me and they have changed me.  This is who I am.  And I have to let it go at the small cliff near Pizza Hut, cause I have to move away in less than 10 months.

I fear my youth is leaving me.  I watched Citizen Kane yesterday.  His childhood was stolen from him.

“Deep Creek” may very well be my “Rosebud.”