September 26, 1993 – Sunday – 7:15 p.m.

The church fellowship was today, so we didn’t have church tonight.

I just skimmed through my first three Books of Days.  I feel so stupid.  When I first started my journal I never wrote much about skit group or youth group; I just wrote about Veronica and she isn’t half as important to me as those memories are now.  Today was so hard after yesterday’s realizations.  I can’t go back and I feel like it’s killing me.  I wish I could make you understand.

The summer of ’93 was great, but the fall, winter, and spring of ’92 and ’93 were far better.

September 12, 1992 to June 5, 1993.

So many complications with Veronica, the one I thought I loved, when the people I truly loved and still love were the group of friends whose company I took for granted.  Most of them are still around and we will continue to have great times, but right now it hurts because I know it will end soon.

Why am I like this Jesus?  Why do memories mean so much to me?

Today a little girl gave a picture to me.  I don’t know when it was taken, but it was after December and before May because Tammy is in the picture.  Jonathan is in there, too.  I realized how much I miss him.

I’m not in the picture, and neither is Marcus, but mostly everyone else is.  Look at us all!  Inseparable friends!  All happy, all smiling, covered in the joy of the Lord.

But the day will come when another group of young people will grow up in that church and we will go our own way.  But, wherever we end up, we all know who we are and whose we are.  Nothing can take that away.

The Lord just showed it to me.  I shouldn’t be sad over this; I should count it all joy.  We are the Endtime Warriors!  We are the Emmanuel Players!  Whether we are together or not, we are family.  Even if we are on the opposite sides of the globe, we will always be one.

We will grow up and never forget our youth and we will love the Lord until the end of our days.

Lord, Make us instruments of your peace,

Where there is hatred, let your love increase

Lord, make us instruments of your peace,

Walls of pride and prejudice shall cease

When we are your instruments of peace.

Where there is hatred, we will show his love

Where there is injury, we will never judge

Where there is striving, we will speak his peace

To the millions crying for release,

We will be his instruments of peace

Where there is blindness, we will pray for sight

Where there is darkness, we will shine his light

Where there is sadness, we will bear their grief

To the millions crying for relief,

We will be your instruments of peace.

Always.

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September 25, 1993 – Saturday – 11:47 p.m.

Things are weird now.

Let’s start with Friday.

School was okay and Ruth gave me a ride to work.  After work I went to the football game; we lost.  Peter was there.  I sat with him for a while.  I finally talked to Jonathan; he was there with Vicky.

Afterwards, I went to this “fifth quarter” shindig at a church out in the boonies.  It was fun and I played twister with some friends from school.  I got home around midnight.

Today came and we didn’t have singing practice, so I cleaned up my room since I needed room to put my 4’x3’ painting that I did in art class of Cosette from Les Miserables.  Everyone likes it.

Image

I went to skit group today on this 25th day of September and I faced something I wasn’t ready to face.

Today I faced my future.  It scared me.

I was directing the skit and we didn’t really get a lot done.  No one was in the right mood to do much of anything, so I just took a break and they all went their separate ways.  My skit was falling apart, just like the Christmas play had fallen apart.

I was upset.  I have the vision, but it just wasn’t coming together.  Christi said it was because of the way the skit group is now.  Since Jason left it’s been dead and our pastor just doesn’t have the talent or the time to give it his all.  It’s just not the same anymore.

It’s been months since we performed the skits that Jason made.  My favorite was the worship skit.  It was the most beautiful song.  I never simply performed it; I always worshipped God with it.  Everyone was doing their own thing, but myself, Christi, Ryan, Cheryl, Amy, and Laura were in the Sanctuary and we got the old music and I said, “Guys, I’m going to play this music and I’m going to perform these skits one last time and get one last memory because I doubt I’ll have the chance to do them again.  If I have to do it myself, then I’ll do it myself.”

I pressed play.

The ancient music of the worship skit filled the sanctuary and I almost cried.

I went down to the stage and Christi and Ryan quickly followed.  Later Amy and Laura joined in.  Cheryl just couldn’t.  It was too sad for her.

We worshipped the Lord together there, with that song, that skit, one last time.

And I knew what to do; I didn’t mess up because it has been implanted in my memory.  I’ll never forget it.

My whole body is shaking right now.  I told the girls that I wish I could live my junior year over because this skit group and these wonderful friends gave me the love and attention that will last me the rest of my life.

If the Lord would let me, I would live my junior year over and over again and never move on.

Ryan, Jason, Christi, Cheryl, Amy, Marcus, Brandon, Anne.  I spent so much time with these eight people.  I love them all.  I miss being an Emmanuel Player.  I don’t want to grow up.  I want things to be like they were.

Thank you Jesus for the times I’ve spent with these people and how much they have taught me.

I also spent a lot of time with Veronica, she taught me much, but come to think of it, I received more love from the eight people above than I did from her.

I’m a little disappointed because Nana tried to get Ryan’s Les Miserables ticket and she was unable to get one; they were all sold out.  November 19, 1993 will not be as special now.  I’m not looking forward to it like I was.  I’ll still go, but no matter how good it is, it would be a hundred times better if Ryan were sitting beside me.  I told her about Lees-McRae college and how I’m looking into it.  When I said it was in Banner Elk, she went crazy and said that her uncle owns a ski resort up there and they usually go up there and ski for free.

That cannot be just a coincident; it has to be the Lord.  Thank you Jesus.

I know that soon I’ll leave Siler City and Sanford one day.  I’ll leave it physically.  But I wonder if I’ll ever leave it emotionally or spiritually.

No, I doubt I will.

These memories hurt, but I don’t want them to fade away.

If you ever drive down Spring Lane in Sanford and pass by my old church many years from now, no matter the date, I will still be there, falling in love with everything around me.

September 24, 1993 – Friday – 12:40 a.m.

As you can tell by the time, I got back from the revival at church pretty late.  It was so awesome.  The Lord was there.  And I’m going to fast every Monday from now on.

Ryan wasn’t there.  But this absolutely adorable black five-year-old friend of mine from the projects came up to me and asked me where Happy, Joy, and Sunshine were.

Not only did I not know where they were, I didn’t know who they were.  Then, after asking more questions, I came to find out that a while back Cheryl, Amy, and Ryan dressed up as clowns for some street ministry in the projects.  They named themselves Happy, Joy, and Sunshine.  Ryan was Sunshine.

It suits her in many ways.

September 22, 1993 – Wednesday – 11:45 p.m.

The special speaker we had at church tonight was great.  Ryan was dressed in white.  She always looks so beautiful.  Lately, she’s looked even more beautiful, but her appearance hasn’t changed; it is just the way I see her.  I look beyond her flesh and see her soul and spirit.  When they all blend together she easily becomes the most beautiful person I’ve ever known in my life.

I’m a senior now and I got a lot of college information today.  Well, I was in the career counselor’s office when the bell rang for first period, so I quickly ran to class with whatever brochures were in my hand, but I’ve liked what I saw in those.  I’ve prayed and thought about it and by the way things look now, I’ll either be going to Lees-McRae in the mountains or Pfieffer, which is less than two hours from here.  I want to go to Lees-McRae, but it is so far away.  I want to get away from home, but I don’t want to get too far away from my friends in the youth group.

God’s will will happen and he’ll take care of everything.

September 21, 1993 – Tuesday – 8:40 p.m.

Let’s continue.

So, I fell asleep.  It was a good sleep, but then… Boom!  I heard a horrible noise and looked up and saw nothing but grass and a 55mph Speed Limit sign.  I tried to get control of the car and swerve back on the road.  I slowly put on the brakes and Marcus was just screaming my name.

The back wheel caught something or maybe an angel pushed the car, I don’t know, but it turned toward the road and sped across the highway toward the medium.  My front end jammed into the ditch at about 50 miles an hour.  The whole car fish-tailed around, turning 180 degrees and we stopped, facing the road we had just flew off.

I moaned.  I couldn’t move.  My entire body was in pain.

Turns out Marcus had fallen asleep too and neither one of us was thinking straight.  We tried to put the car in reverse and push it out.  We didn’t know he had two flat tires.

We waved some cars down and they called the ambulance.  Marcus hit his eye and his head was aching badly.  We went to the hospital in Sanford.  They checked us over pretty well.  Nothing major, but Marcus got a black eye and his sinuses are all messed up.

The car, on the other hand, may be totaled.  We won’t know until tomorrow.  My parents just got finished paying it off.  Henry bought it as a brand new car four years ago.  It is the only non-used car he has ever purchased.  He drove it everywhere and even said it was like a second home to him.  Last week my parents switched the insurance around so I could drive Henry’s car; it made their payment a little cheaper.  A week after I start driving his car, I wreck it.  Marcus has been out of school for two days because of his injury.

Needless to say, Henry is upset.  He won’t say it with his mouth but his actions toward me portray it.  It’s like he views me as something that gives him gray hair and makes him spend more money.

Mom on the other hand says the usual, “I’m just glad you are alive.  We could be buying a casket instead of a new car.”

I said, “Well, at least I would be free.”

This world is messed up.  Everything is done the wrong way.  Some people even do love the wrong way.  They fall in love with how a girl is and not who the girl is.  I might wreck a car and I might mess up my parent’s pocketbook, but I’m not going to mess up love.  I’m not going have a wrecked marriage like both Mom and Henry’s first marriage.

You know, something could have gone terribly wrong and I might not be writing this entry tonight.  Instead my Book of Days could have ended with me praying for God to do a work in me and then, BOOM!, it is over.  My journey would be complete.  My dream would come true.  I’d be with my Jesus.

But it didn’t and I’m still here.

I’m still alive.

Alive to write.  Alive to dream.  Alive to think about Ryan.  Alive to experience more pain and more misery.  Alive to grow.  Alive to learn.  Alive to wonder.  Alive to love.

Thank you Lord for letting me live.  I want so bad to be with you, but I know there is still more for me to do on this earth before I am truly free.

I want to live Lord.

I want to do your will.

I love you Jesus.

September 19, 1993 – Sunday – 3:10 p.m.

About 14 hours ago, I was in an ambulance on my way to the hospital in Sanford.  I was sitting up in the front seat with intense back pain, but Marcus was the one in the back, laid out on the stretcher, wearing a neck brace.  I had just wrecked another car.

But I am safe, alive, and back in my room listening to the Dances With Wolves soundtrack.  Let’s start from the beginning.  Hopefully I can remember everything.  I’m fading fast.

Yesterday morning, a Saturday, I woke up feeling good because I spent some quality time with the Lord the night before.  Marcus and I got ready to go to singing practice.  Kevin was back home for the weekend.  Marcus and I were going to drive him back down to college last night after youth group.  He goes to school in Fayetteville, about an hour and a half from our house.

During singing practice Ryan was definitely in a weird mood.  She was just not serious in anything she said and it really made me laugh.

Mom came and dropped Kevin off at the church while she went to buy some carpet.

We met her at Wal-Mart once we were done with practice and I got some jeans and a tie.  Afterwards, mom went home and Kevin went to the Neal’s house.  They are a family from church with tons of kids, most of them younger, but we often hang out with them.

I rode around Sanford a while; wondering what I was going to do.  I went by Kiwanis Park and walked the trail.  I knew Scott and Marcus were planning on coming there so I waited around for them.  Some people were setting up for a concert and they wanted to talk to them.

They eventually showed up and we then went to the Denny’s, another family from church.  Marcus and Scott have started a Christian rap group called Brothers In The Word, or maybe that’s Brothers N Da Word, I’m not sure.  Anyway, they practice in the basement of the Denny’s house.

After that came skit group practice and I was directing today’s skit.  We didn’t get finished, but we got a lot accomplished.  It’s hard work.  I got real bossy and people saw a side of me that they have never seen before.

Youth group came after that and even Veronica and Sherry came.  We had a great meeting and when it was all over, we had to take Kevin back to school.  He drove, but once we got there we stayed a long time.

College life is very different from home life.  I honestly don’t know if I’m ready for it yet, but it is less than a year away.

Around midnight we left and I remember praying, “Thanks for getting us home safely, Lord,” as we buckled up and left the college.

We got home, but it was at 4:16 a.m. this morning.

After driving through Fayetteville and Sanford (about an hour) I got really tired.  We were on the four-lane of 421 headed home and it was less that a quarter of a mile before the four-lane merged into a two-lane.

It was there that I fell asleep.

In fact, I feel like sleeping now.

I’ll have to finish this later…

September 17, 1993 – Friday – 8:39 p.m.

I just need to pray.

Father, you are the best thing that has ever come into my life.  Without you I would probably be dead.  I love you God.  I love you Jesus.  And I suppose I love myself, but I sure don’t like myself.

I used to like who I was.  I used to be someone I would actually look up to, but not anymore. I’ve changed, and maybe I can point the finger at these teenage years.  But I don’t want to change.  I want to be the old me.  I want to like myself again.

Recently, I’ve been thinking in ways that I shouldn’t.  I’ve let other things come before my relationship with you.  I don’t want to be like this anymore.

I know you have a plan for my life.  You have called me.  Yet, I know I can’t move on unless I get rid of this pride, this way that I look down on people that are different than me.  I hate it.  I’m upset with myself.  What have I become?

Who I am now is not who I want to be.

I want to like myself again.  No more pride.  No more junk.

Only you.  I want to quit complaining and appreciate life again.  Lord, I repent and ask you to forgive me.  I want to live holy in your presence.  Holy, pure, honest!

I need you God.  Do a work in me.  Change me so I can live with myself and enjoy being around myself.

Please God.

Please.