August 7, 1997 – Thursday – 8:30 a.m.

Good morning.

Charlie, Dan, and Allen made large cross that stands on a rock down Elk River.  We went there Tuesday night, sang praises, and prayed to God.

I talked to Allen about the Jeanine thing.  He has tried to bury every sexual desire he’s ever had.  He won’t even look at girls.  He should just let go, and praise God that he is a sexual being with a healthy sex drive.  It’s how God made us.  Instead these buried desires erupt in unhealthy ways.  He admits that he just gets stupid when he is around her.

It got my haircut yesterday morning.  I like it.  I went to a new place in Newland and they gave me a head massage as well.  It was awesome.

Church was fun last night, but I got a little sick during worship.  Sherlive showed up a little late, it was so good to see her.  We talked after church.  I got a smiley face pencil while at Chrysalis and she often wears a smiley face necklace.  I gave her the pencil and she had the coolest smile on her face.  She really seemed to like it.  She said it was spiffy.  We played the piano together and talked some about music.  I asked her if she would like to see Children of Eden with me on Friday.  Hopefully she can.  She has to talk to her parents about it.  I told her I would call her on Friday.  We said our goodbyes and she hoped to got to feeling better.

I did.

Then that night, Dan and I put on some Jewel and talked deeply about life and God.  How long was God there before he created us?  Who made God?  Why is all of this what it is?

We talked of everything…of forbidden fruit, fallen angels, the Ten Commandments, a son who died for our sins, Saul turning to Paul, my love for stories, and how God is an amazing story teller, who includes all of us in the perfect plot of redemption and salvation.

It’s so great having Dan stay with me this month.  He’s the truest of friends.

 

August 5, 1997 – Tuesday – 12:28 p.m.

I’m back in Banner Elk.  Rachel and I had fun on the drive down yesterday.  I discovered some interesting news when I got here.  Jeanine and Allen kissed each other down by Elk River.  And I thought Allen vowed to never kiss another girl until after he married her.  I thought it was funny, but also sad.  She leaves in a week.  Linda and I talked a lot last night about Chrysalis.  But I miss Sherlive.  I hope to see her real soon.

Children of Eden, the final summer theater show, beings on Thursday.  So, summer theater ends a week from today.  RD training begins this weekend.  The RAs arrive on Sunday the 17th, my birthday.  So, I will officially declare August 17th as the last day of the summer of 1997.

That’s 12 days away.  Graduation is in nine months.  Nine months until the second storm. But I made good friends out of complete strangers over the past three days, so I’m not worried about moving away.  There are good people everywhere you go.

Constant change.

Increase range.

Differences increase.

But there’s aways peace.

August 3, 1997 – Sunday – 11:30 p.m.

I sit in Rachel’s house in Sterling, VA.  Chrysalis is over.

P.C. was my roommate for the weekend and he kinda reminded me of Vince.  A wonderful person with a wonderful life ahead of him.  He has a problem with his left arm.  A part of his upper bone is hollow and he has gone through several surgeries to fix it and has a huge scar because of it.  They’ve had to take bone out of his leg to try and fix it and because of this he can’t join the Navy like he’s always wanted to.  This was a hard time for him in his life, but he met a girl on the Internet named Lisa.  They began to email each other.  Then they wrote to each other.  Then they called each other.  And then they visited each other.  She’s in Iowa and he’s in Virginia.  They are now boyfriend and girlfriend and they will start school together out in Boulder, Colorado.  They’ll be freshman together.  After he showed me her picture, I was amazed.  She was so beautiful.  I didn’t know girls that pretty talked on computers.

Sean, always seated in a wheelchair, was never seen without a smile on his face.  Kay is soon to donate a kidney to her brother.  Colleen, a beautiful 25-year-old, who lost her little brother to a rare disease when she was 15.  Then she bore her own son as teenager, but then the father left them both.  She said the death of her brother tore her from God, but the eyes of her baby brought her back to him.

After hearing her talk of her brother, I wrote her a poem:

I said hello

I say goodbye

I saw you live

And now you die

But death is life

And life is love

Love is God

Eternal from above

So I’ll see you soon

There’s no need to cry

I too am changing

And to you I’ll fly

I found out later that the poem made her cry.  When I said goodbye to her today, she hugged me so tight.  Her lips said nothing, but her eyes shouted a desperate “thank you.”

And there was Vanny, who tried to commit suicide twice before, but now only smiles as bright as the sun.

And that was just a few.  There were so many stories full of death and tragedy.  But I don’t have those stories.  My tragedies are Bs on papers and mixed emotions.  I still have my family, my virginity, my sanity, my life, my legs, my health.

But there is one tragic story in my life.  I discovered this weekend that I am capable of so much more love.  I’ve been keeping it inside and only sharing it with a select few.  Now it’s time to give it to the world.

I spoke up at the gathering and told the group that each one of them was beautiful and I thanked God for allowing me to add their eyes and names to my collection.  Some came to me and said I seemed very Christlike.  They said they saw Jesus in me.  If so, then perhaps I am beginning to live a Christian life.

Rachel told me that others told her I seemed very creative.  People are so good to me.  God is so good to me.  So, here I am God.  I’m ready.  I don’t know everything, but I know you.

Here I am.

I’ve shown up.

 

August 3, 1997 – Sunday – 7:30 a.m.

A Sunday morning.  I am on a deck in Maryland overlooking Maryland, Virginia, and parts of Pennsylvania.  The sun is peaking over a long narrow cloud; shining on me like a spotlight.  Saturday has passed.  An amazing day.  We talked.  We learned.  We sang.  We loved.  And even today, we still love.

There was a talent show.  Our skit won the “Most Uplifting Award.”  Our award was a bra, so funny.  There was also a beauty contest.  My group dressed me up as a girl and I won that too.

God brought me up here to show me his love and to teach me how to love my family and friends.  I thought of Jonathan and how he isn’t able to go back to college.  He sure could use a bag of letters like I received yesterday.

Everyone is up and around on this deck now.  Time to live in the love of others.

August 1, 1997 – Friday – 11:45 p.m.

The month of change has begun on the right foot.  I am in Maryland at Chrysalis.  Rachel is here.  I have a roommate named P.C.; we talked forever last night.  The drive up here was fun, Rachel had a friend of hers drive me up most of the way.  The Virginia Blue Ridge mountains were so beautiful.

On Wednesday night Sherlive came to church and afterwards we went to see Air Force One.  We had a good time.  I hope I can see her again soon.  I told P.C. about her.

But the most amazing thing was that today each caterpillar (that’s what they call us here at Chrysalis) received a bag full of letters.  They were letters from people I didn’t know, they were just general supporters of Chrysalis, but there were also letters from even dear people I do know.  I have a letter from Rachel, Ellen, Tracey, Lindy, Paul, my mom and dad, Nate, Sharon, Jeni, and Marisa.

Love is all around me.  People are so nice here.  I only pray that I can be as nice.

Jeni said in her letter that if my movies and stories in anyway reflect what is in my heart, then I would be in my success.  God loves me so much.  I just praise and love and thank him.  The weekend is so amazing so far, but it’s just getting started.  Words cannot express how happy I feel.  Is this what heaven will be like?

July 30, 1997 – Wednesday – 12:20 p.m.

Last night after I wrote in my journal, almost everyone from Tennessee Dorm, plus Charlie and Allen, went to Macado’s.  Charlie, Allen, Jeanine and I sat at a table together and had some good laughs.

I leave for Chrysalis in the morning.  I have no idea what this thing is, but I guess I will by Monday.  I’ve heard of people going on these retreats and Rachel always talks about it, so I guess I just have to see for myself.

I want to grow close to Sherlive.  She has totally captured my thoughts.  How crazy that a girl can just show up out of the blue.  I want God to be the center of our relationship.  I want us to bring people to the Lord together.  The world needs Jesus and I like the Jesus that I’ve met in her as well as the Jesus that is in me.

July 29, 1997 – Tuesday – 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday.  Two days without Sherlive, but my thoughts have been filled with her.

I washed clothes this morning.  Worked, or rather laughed, with Lindy in the box office and then came back and washed dishes.  I read my Bible and a Max Lucado story this evening, then Dan, Vince, Charlie and I went to a nearby pastor’s house.  Dan had brought some chemical or something back from West Virginia and he wanted to make something called a potato gun.  He said the chemical was illegal in all the other states except for West Virginia.  But we didn’t have any potatoes, so the idea was to borrow some from this pastor with a nice garden.  Once we entered his house, his wife asked us if we wanted some dinner.  We said, “No, but we would like some vegetables from your garden.”  And they were more than happy to give us some.

They didn’t have any potatoes, but they had tons of zucchini they wanted to part with.  So, with our hands full of more zucchini than we could ever eat, we drove to the football field on campus and Dan got out this pipe and I don’t really understand what happened, but they stuffed one end with a zucchini, and the other end was full of this chemical, a bit of water and then Dan was holding a flame at the bottom.  Nothing was happening and we were all saying he was full of crap, but all of a sudden…BOOM!!!

We had just shot a zucchini halfway across Banner Elk!  It was a super loud explosion.  Dogs started barking all over town, lights were coming on in all the houses, and I’ve never been so scared in my life so I just immediately started running across the field to hide somewhere; I was sure the cops were coming to take us away for life.

But I had totally forgot that Dan had given me his keys for some reason and I had stranded them there since I ran off.  Luckily Dan had a spare key under his car in a magnet box, but it took them forever to retrieve it.

We finally met up and they kept making fun of how fast I ran away.  I guess it was pretty funny, but I was seriously terrified at the time.  I’ve already been arrested once in this town for trespassing.

. . .

I talked to Rachel tonight and I leave for Chrysalis Thursday morning.

While in the box office today, I called the church and asked for the number of a family that lives in TN, hoping they would have a phone book for that region.  They did and I asked them to look up Denny, Sherlive’s dad’s name.  They found it and I now have her phone number.  I haven’t called her yet, but I might if she doesn’t show up for church tomorrow night.

I see Sherlive and I getting close, but this is her freshman year and my senior year.  I’m kinda scared.

Truth:

This is not my home.

Sherlive is not mine.

She is God’s, as am I.

God comes first.

Otherwise, nothing else will work.

Heaven is in the end.

Heaven is a secret.

A secret allowed to be told.

I must tell that secret.

Secrets are secrets because they are true.

. . .

July is ending.

The month of change awaits.

Change is hiding under my bed.

Awaiting to take me in the night.

I will change rooms, age, and class.

Voices, eyes, smiles, they are killing me.

I fight, live, and die for them all.

They come and haunt me.

I feel Sherlive understands this loving pain.

And that is what burns inside of me.

I no longer know what to write.  I can’t write all of my thoughts for some of them are secrets.  Secrets like heaven and they too don’t have words.