December 30, 1994 – Friday – 4:50 p.m.

Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Four will be over in 31 hours and ten minutes.

1994!

It is hard to sum it all up.  But we all know what basically happened.  Jenna and Tenielle came.  Ryan and Christi left.  I found Ryan and Christi at the last moment once more, but then I left all four of them plus many more.  I left them during the summer.  An amazing summer filled with Fishnet and Deep Creek.  I left them to meet many others, one in particular…Jeni.

We have been together for over three months.  And together we will go into 1995!

Much more happened, many small intangible moments, but nevertheless, it is all over now.

And it is time for me to finally say goodbye.

I need to.  I need to realize that I cannot go back.  It is my home, and yes, part of me is still there, but I do believe that no one can have more than one home at one time.

Thank you everyone for making me smile.  And thank you so much for making me laugh.  Thank you Grant and Wynne.  You guys were so funny during high school.

In a way I wish I could stay forever young.  Those were some fun days.

I believe I can stay forever young, but not there at Chatham Central High School.

And I give a special thank you to everyone at Abundant Life Christian Center.  I adored that place and the people there.  You all treated me with so much love and respect.  You made me laugh as well.  I know that there must have been some bad times, but at this moment, I can’t recall anything that destroyed our lives.

However, more than my goodbye, there are good memories.  Good memories that will stay with me for a long time.

As 1994 comes to a close, so does my will to return.

I can’t return, therefore I wish to go into the future.  And Lees-McRae College is my immediate future.  One semester down and seven more to go.

So goodbye.  I accept the fact that it never again can be.

1995 will arrive and I will live in 1994 and not in 1994 or 1993.

What will 1995 bring?

I couldn’t tell you.

By the time 1996 rolls around I will have learned a lot and experienced so much.  I can guarantee that.

Tomorrow, I will meet Jeni in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia and ride with her family back to Ohio.  We will spend a week together then return to Lees-McRae and unite with our great Christian friends and travel to Albany, Georgia to spend another week helping in the flood relief work there.

Then, together we experience the spring semester at Lees-McRae College.  Hopefully the campus will be covered in snow for the entire semester, summer will roll around, and then God will paint the leaves again during the fall semester.  Christmas will come again, etc., etc….

So there it is.

Thank you Lord for 1994 and thanks for 1995.

Thank you for Jeni.

And thank you for you.

You Lord are what brings the true joy.  You are what gives all of this meaning.

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December 26, 1994 – Monday – 7:40 a.m.

It is the 26th of December in the year 1994.

Did you hear me?

December 26, 1994.

I have been alive on this earth for 18 years, four months, nine days, two hours, and 40 minutes.

That’s a long time.

But then again…what is time?

I feel empty.

Arms.  My arms.  They hurt.  They ache.

And I know why.  They are not holding the one I love.

Jeni.

Just writing her name gives me the chills.

She called last night around 11 o’clock.  We talked four hours.

She is in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I am in Lanexa, Virginia.

For the summer of 1995 it looks like I will be where she is now.  She wants me to go home with her and find a job in Cincinnati. Then maybe just visit my family in North Carolina around the 4th of July.

Do you remember when Jenna and I bought Grey Poupon on the 4th of July?

So many smiles, so many moments of laughter, not just from Jenna, but from every person I’ve encountered; every person I’ve spent at least a few fleeting moments with these past 18 years.  Yet I’m sure there are some I have forgotten.

Is my past truly behind me?

Will I allow myself to spend a summer in Cincinnati?  Will my heart?  Will my arms?  Will my eyes?

What is there in Sanford?

What is there to hold in Sanford?

What is there to look upon in Sanford?

Today, Dad and I went to see two movies:  Star Trek: Generations and Forrest Gump.  Star Trek was cool, but will there ever be another movie as amazing as Forrest Gump?

As I left the theater I looked at the different human beings around me.  Some had tears in their eyes.  Some were holding the hand of a loved one.  That certain individual had found that other person they were created to love.

What an adventure!

What a discovery!

What a miracle!

The miracle of another human being.  How Jeni and I ever came to know each other is beyond me.

Beyond me.

There is much beyond me.

But my savior, very close to me, has taught me to love and value another one of his beautiful creations.

Time does not exist.  Days may pass.  Years may pass.  But my past will grow.  My collections will grow.  My love for Jeni will grow.

The end will draw close, but it will not be over.

And in the meantime, I will enjoy my time here on earth.

I will enjoy my time with Jeni.

I will enjoy Lees-McRae College.

I will enjoy the summer of 1995.

I will enjoy the future.

For surely the best days of my life are not the ones you’ve already read about, but the ones I have yet to write.

December 24, 1994 – Saturday – 10:30 p.m.

Merry Christmas everyone!

I’m in Virginia.

Dad and Kevin and I went shopping.  I bought Jeni’s Christmas present.  It is a Lion King music box type thing.  It cost me $42. I hope she will like it.

Christmas is tomorrow.

Happy birthday Jesus!

I called Jeni earlier today.  She is going to call me tomorrow.  I can’t wait!

December 23, 1994 – Friday – 10:00 a.m.

My visit home has been good.  I arrived here Wednesday around 5:30 p.m.  Kevin and Nate and I just joked about everything and then we went to church.  The first person I saw there was Jonathan.  He hugged me.  Then he introduced me to Mandy and I went inside.  I saw Cheryl and hugged her.  Then Anne and I hugged her.  She showed me the ring that Sam gave her.

Jenna, Tenielle, Sunny, and Shar came in later and they all hugged me.

Church, however, was different.

Some of my favorite faces were gone, and new ones were there.

Shurby is not the youth pastor anymore, but he still goes to church there.  He one time shared a vision with the whole church about how the youth group would have 700 members and change the entire city.  What happened?

After I said goodbye to everyone we went to Christi’s house.  Only Jason, Christi, and Patti were there.  It was so good to see Jason.  We talked about school and theatre.  Christi came in and I hugged her.  She is still beautiful.  We all couldn’t stop talking.

And after I left that place that night I thought of everything from the past.

Everything.

And I can honestly say, that between all the girls, Christi was my favorite.

Jonathan spent the night and our family supposedly had its Christmas.  I got new clothes.

I called Jeni.  She had had a bad day.  She missed me.

On Thursday I went to work at McDonald’s from noon to 8:00 p.m.  Peter picked me up afterwards and we came here to play Risk.  After 12 years we are still the greatest of friends.

Last night Jonathan and I had our talk.  I told him how I met Jeni and how our relationship began.  He cried.  He said he was jealous.  Jonathan still loves Kate; she was his first love.  But they had sex and that ruins any relationship when it’s not in marriage.  Then Jonathan and Vicky had sex.  Jonathan said he had sex with two girls at college.

Why?

Four different girls and he isn’t even married.

Why is he with Mandy when he knows that he still loves Kate?

He has messed up the story of love and he knows it.  That’s why he was jealous of me.  What I have he can never have again.  He threw it all away.  His chances are gone.  He can’t start over.

I do have a good thing going with Jeni.  And I’m not going to mess it up.  I’m going to let it grow.

I love you Jeni.

December 21, 1994 – Wednesday – 11:10 a.m.

Henry will be here in a few hours.  I talked to Jonathan over the phone last night.  He was going to ride up here with Henry to get me, but he is not now.  He is going to see Mandy, his girlfriend.  He says he will meet me at church tonight.  I haven’t seen him in exactly four months; that’s a third of a year.

Jeni left yesterday.  It was hard for her.  She cried.

It was hard for me too.  She called me when she got home last night.  She cried then too.

We talked for a while and told each other how much we love each other.

Christmas is close.

God is real.

Look where I am now.  Even still there are higher places to go.

But only through Jesus.

December 19, 1994 – Monday – 10:45 a.m.

I am in my room here at Lees-McRae.  In two days I will go to Siler City, North Carolina.

Siler City.

Sanford.

Mt. Vernon Springs.

Two years ago I went caroling with the youth group.  Jason was our youth pastor then.  I wonder how he is doing.  I’m sure he is still doing theatre.  The last time I saw him was the end of August.  It’s the end of December now.

The end of 1994.

1995.

I never thought it would happen.

The past.

Do I long for it?

Jeni thinks I do.

Jeni.

Who is Jeni.

There are times when I don’t know.  But I love this girl, even though we are strangers.

One year ago, I hadn’t know Jenna and Tenielle for very long.  I didn’t know how I felt about either one of them.

Mr. Benton told me one thing that was assured to happen in life was change.  And as I said a year ago; he was right.

Who is Ryan?

A girl here named Tammy has the Far and Away soundtrack.  I copied the music for the mask skit from her.

Yesterday we performed the A Few Good Men scene.  Everyone liked it and said I did a great job.

It snowed a little up on Beech Mountain.  It is snow capped.  It’s very pretty.

I will leave at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday the 21st.  Also, on the 21st I will change rooms.  I’m going to have a single room for next semester.  I will live on the same hall, just down on the end.  Charlie will still be my RA.  I’m glad.

Home.

What is home?

Is this home?

Is Abundant Life Christian Center my home?

I want to see Christi and Jason, Jenna and Tenielle, Marcus and Jonathan.

Here at Lees-McRae, milk is flowing all around me.

Here at Lees-McRae, I am me.

All of these new faces.

All of these new names.

All of these new people I now love.

What am I here to do?

As for right now, I simply want to see my old friends for a few days, then begin 1995 with Jeni, spend the rest of my life with her and become a filmmaker while I glorify God every day.

But it will not be that simple.  This road I am walking on will take me many places.

Many places before I get to heaven.

And you’ll get to read about them.