April 23, 1995 – Sunday – 10:15 p.m.

Last night I went out with James and a girl named Syndi.  We ate at Pizza Hut and then saw Forrest Gump at a dollar theater.  The last time I saw Forrest Gump was August 13th, 1994.  That was before the storm.  It reminded me of the summer.  I felt like I was back home.  But it has been eight months and ten days since that night.  And now those eight months and ten days are gone.

I went to church this morning as I do every Sunday morning.  Jim’s sermon was awesome.  He is a wonderful teacher and preacher.  Clifton invited me over to his house today.  We watched Stargate.  It was really cool; I liked it.  Afterwards, Crystal took me horseback riding.  I had never been before so I was excited.  And since I am so easily amazed, Crystal was laughing at me the entire time.  She walked into the pasture and almost stepped in a pile of horse crap and I about lost it; I’ve never been around that much poop before.  It’s nothing to her though.

We just went for a short trot up their road.  It was cold and misty outside, but I enjoyed myself.  She said she would take me again sometime.  I’m looking forward to it.

I am supposed to be back here at school on the 15th of August.  Lees-McRae Summer Theater is putting on a production of The Secret Garden that I want to see.  It ends on the 14th.  I’m going to come up anyway on the 14th to see it.  Leslie, Clifton and Crystal’s mom said I could stay at their house that one night since I won’t be able to stay on campus until the 15th.  The 14th is a Monday, so that means the 13th, a Sunday, will be my last day at home.

August 13th, 1995.  That date sounds familiar.

Anyway, after our horse ride we watched Blue Sky with Tommy Lee Jones and Jessica Lange.  Great movie!  Church was great tonight as well.  We all went out to eat at the Country House afterwards.  Pastor Jim was there as well.  He asked me when I will be back in the fall, so I could start creating a drama ministry.  I told him August 14th.

Crystal is really excited about this.  She was disappointed when she found out I wasn’t going to be here for the summer.  She wants to work in film when she gets older as well.

When I walked out of the Country House tonight I was almost knocked down by the wind; it was blowing so hard.

I’m sure it will blow harder in about two and a half weeks though.

I got back to my room at around nine o’clock.  I sat on my bed and took off my shoes.  I threw them over into my closet and then I opened my top drawer of the dresser next to my unmade bed.  I pulled a precious piece of folded paper from out of it and gazed upon these precious words: “Please call me if you need anything.”

I grabbed my phone and dialed the most beautiful phone number on the planet.  And my beautiful Emily answered.  We talked for little over an hour.  We talked about everyday life.  She does so many things.  I knew she played a lot of sports and that she played bass guitar and piano, but tonight she told me that she also dances as well as does gymnastics and even kickboxing.  I asked her if there was anything she doesn’t do.

“Probably not,” she said.

She says that she will begin making the video for me soon.  I can’t wait!

She had had a wonderful time at the beach for spring break.  She gave me so many little details about what had happened and what she was thinking, etc.

After about an hour, we said our goodbyes and goodnights.  I hung the phone up and then turned and looked at myself in the mirror.  I looked into my own eyes and then I realized that I was scared.  I was terrified.

What have I done?  What am I doing?  Emily is so close, yet so far away.  I feel like she is slipping right through my fingers.  I am afraid to have her.  I’m even afraid to say it because I feel so much truth in it.  I feel like I’m living in a dream world.  Whenever Charlie and I are talking, I always mention Emily.  I talk about her all the time.  I talk about her like she is right next to me.

I am simply scared that somewhere along our journey in this crazed world, I will lose her.  Her world in Crestview seems so much larger than my small world in Banner Elk.  And who knows?  Who knows where her and I will be tomorrow?

As I listened to her voice over the phone tonight, there was something I wanted to tell her.  I wanted to tell her that I loved her, but I didn’t.  I couldn’t.  I couldn’t bring myself to say it.  But why?  I had told her that I loved her before.  Why is it different now?

Wait a minute.  What am I doing?  I’m trying to figure this out with my brain.  Emily said, “The Heart has eyes the Brain knows nothing of.”

I can’t see this in it’s right perspective with my physical eyes, I must use the eyes of my heart.

The storm that nearly knocked me down as I left the Country House tonight must have grown.  I just saw a flash of lightning outside my window.  There just went a another one!  Cool, another one!

On March 8, 1995 I wrote this: “There is no lightning in the air, but there is Emily’s letter on the dresser beside me.  Oh, how I wish a storm would blow me away to Crestview, FL.”

It looks like my wish has come true.  The eyes of my heart see absolutely nothing that the brain can.  Because my heart is not here.  My heart has been blown away by this storm of lightning to Crestview.  It cannot see anything here, for Emily has my heart.

Why be scared?  There is nothing I can do.  Lightning strikes.  I cannot stop it from striking me.  I cannot make it strike me.  I cannot make it strike anyone else.

So, I will just let it be.  I have been struck with lightning and I cannot pretend that I haven’t been.  So I will let this force inside me now grow.  I will not deny it.  I will not try to hide it.

I will believe in it.

God is this force.

God is love.

I will not try to understand.

I believe God knows the answers.

I believe God is the answer.

I believe love is the answer.

And I believe love will find a way.

So I will write it here:  Emily, I am in love with you.  How?  When?  Where?  Why?  I’m not going to try to figure that out.  God knows how my heart sees you, so I will give it all to him.  For he controls where lightning strikes.

Sunlight spilled out from the sky, until it was gone

And moonshine showered down on me, until I knew I was alone

Then I reached up to the sky, and the storm began to blow

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