December 30, 1999 – Thursday – 1:30 p.m.

It is nearing closing time for the 1990s.  Well, for the 1900s, for that matter.  Wow, and even for the 1000s.

I’m listening to the nine compilation tapes I’ve made since 1993.  I’m simply celebrating and saying goodbye to the decade in which I came of age and learned who I was.

Seven years ago I was thinking about Veronica while Marie was finishing her first semester at Easter College.  That seems unbelievable to me.

Part of me regrets being so childish at the age of 16, but I am now 23, and it seems there is nothing wrong with staying a child just a little while longer.

Six years ago I was dreaming about Emily.

Five years ago I was realizing that life was changing and that the past never again could be.

Four years ago I was remembering only the love of the mid-90s.

Three years ago I was visiting old friends in High Falls, NC and then slept through the final hours of 1996, missing Christi’s birthday party.

Two years ago I was contemplating over Sarah.

And last year I was sitting in a small RV, reflecting back on a year of transition.

In between each of those years, I wrote out my hearts and thoughts in these pages.  I often wonder if through that process I am creating a trap for myself.  Am I forging memories that I’ll never be able to escape from?

No matter.  As I look back on 1999, every action I took lead me to Marie, and she is all I want now.

The emotion of the past is losing its value in its battle with the present.

Moments in my younger years that would have taken up pages of journaling are hardly mentioned now.  I want to focus more now on my identity in Christ.  Hopefully, that change will take place.

There is a day and I half left in the ’90s.  Thank you Lord for these years.  Thank you for Chatham Central, Abundant Life, Lees-McRae, Heaton, Regent, and Parkway.  Thank you for North Carolina.

Thank you for forgiving me for all of my mistakes.  Thank you for redeeming me.  Thank you for my faith.  I see now that I do not own anything here.  Everything belongs to you.  Help me to move forward in all that you have prepared and to not live in this decade any longer.

Thank you for both the old and the new.

December 28, 1999 – Tuesday – 9:30 a.m.

It feels like much time has passed.  Four days remain.

Marie and I had a nice visit on the 23rd.  The next morning we went to Williamsburg with her family, who are adorable by the way.  I want so much to be a part of them.  Please God, may your will be done.

It snowed while we were in Williamsburg, and then I headed north to Waldorf, Maryland.  Every member of my mom’s side of the family was there, and we had a beautiful Christmas.  I left around 2:00 p.m. to head towards Mt. Airy, where I met up with Lindy.  She was her lovely self, and we talked about our wonderful friends.  She has found her home in North Carolina and will probably stay there forever.

Jason, my old youth pastor, sent me a Christmas card, and Tenielle called last night.

I miss Marie so bad.  How wonderful that my heart longs for her.  I will see her in about eight days.

The year is ending.

I’ll write more later.

December 23, 1999 – Thursday – 9:22 p.m.

There has been much time of reflection tonight as I wait for Marie to call or visit.  I enjoy waiting for her.  There is a calm peace about me now.  There is time to sit with Jesus in the candlelight and the blinking, colored lights from my very tiny fake tree.  I’ve listened to music and I’ve listened to the silence of my breath.  I’m listening to my own breathy laughter as I remember all that my beautiful God has brought me through.

And now I turn to ink and lined paper to simply see what happens when I combine the two.  I’m attempting to end the nineties.  I have cleaned up, thrown old things out, and listened to ancient music from the past ten years.

My father called me tonight, and I love him.  He has problems, he doesn’t do too much, he’s not very exciting, but he is alive, and that alone surrounds him with hope.

My 23 years have shown me the eastern coast of America.  Good things are happening here.  I’ve even seen the Gulf of Mexico and walked along Santa Monica Blvd, but who I am will always be an Appalachian mountain.  For over seven of these past 23 years, I have not lived in North Carolina, but it is the land I grew up in.  I hope to always know it is only a short drive away.

I realize my story is small, and I pray it always remains that way.  I want the simple.  I want the small.  There are many more states to see, but I would exchange them all for more time with Marie.  There was at knock a my door this evening, and I thought it was her.  I opened my door to a short lady with a plastic bag.

“Oops, wrong door.  Sorry,” she said.

I helped her find who she was looking for, but as I returned to my room my whole body was shaking in result of the thought of seeing her.

Hmmm.

A younger me experiencing these final days would reflect on each individual year of the ’90s and comment on them, but I would rather live in the now, in the hope of seeing Marie.

Lord, make me ready for a life of sharing.  Let me give to her all that you have placed in me.  Purify me.  Break me and burn me.  I love letting you take over Lord, but I realize this freedom comes at a huge price.  I thank you.

Eight days remain in this time of closing.

I want to spend them quietly with you.

December 23, 1999 – Thursday – 11:57 a.m.

Vince just left.  What a lovely three weeks we spent together between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We saw the winter solstice moon last night.  We made pancakes this morning. He is my truly great friend, and he is moving in Bolivia in May.

I wrote Marie a letter this morning.  I so much look forward to seeing her tonight.  I feel I’m letting go of life more and more.  I want so much to let everything that is in me be nothing but Jesus.  I want all my remaining days to me Jesus, Marie, and storytelling….in that order.

Take all of me Lord.  I see that every good thing comes from you.  I alone am full of sin.  You are my redeemer.  I only exist because of your love and grace.

This beautiful life is full of you Jesus.  It is because of your resurrection.  I love you so.

December 21, 1999 – Tuesday – 10:15 p.m.

Vince and I experienced the most beautiful sunset in the world last night.  We were out at Back Bay Wildlife Refuge.  It was unbelievable.  God is so big, so grand, and I see Him every day.

I called Marie this evening.  She sounded beautiful.  She said she wrote me a letter.  What a lovely creation oh God.  She is yours, not mine.

She will be here in two days, but I’ll only get to see her a little while and then she’ll be back eight days later.

This relationship is the truest one I’ve seen or known.  I am overwhelmed with joy and thanksgiving.

There are ten days remaining in this millennium.  Vince lies to my left reading Passion and Purity.  My small Christmas tree is blinking in front of us with wrapped Christmas presents underneath.  We are listening to Whisper loaned to me by a beautiful girl now in New Jersey.  But she feels so close to me tonight.

Justin visited with us yesterday and Sunday.  He is doing very well.  What a great friend!

God’s blessings continue to multiply, so much so that I feel I can’t contain all the joy.  He’s given me so much in talent, in Marie, and in friends.

It is in dying that we are born.

Jesus broke the bread before he multiplied it.

Did my breaking come my senior year of Lees-McRae?  My first year of Regent?  Or is my true breaking yet to come?

Oh Lord, please have your way.

Teach me about all that is good in you.  Melt me away.  I don’t want to exist.  Only you Lord.  Take me over.  Take me over.

I love you my sweet savior.

 

December 19, 1999 – Tuesday – 10:15 p.m.

The most beautiful morning of all!  Vince and Marie and I visited Tracey’s parents last night.  What a wonderful night of southern food and laughter!  We played Bible Trivia, and, of course, Marie won.

Marie and I had our Christmas together afterwards at her apartment.  We exchanged our presents for each other.  She loved the picture I gave her of my younger true self.  We then danced the night away to Jill Phillips’ “Everyday.”

And in the early morning hours of this very day we shared our first kiss.

Beautiful.  Soft.  Sweet.

She is on the road now to New Jersey.  Protect her Lord.

Thank you for this beauty Jesus.

Thank you for this life.

 

December 18, 1999 – Saturday – 1:20 p.m.

David just gave me a present from the youth group.  It is a journal with an bald eagle on it.  Yet Marie and I have talked about looking for a church to attend together.  She said she doesn’t feel right about co-teaching with me at Parkway now.  Guide us Lord.

It is a week until Christmas.  Last year our show at Parkway opened.  This year I’m looking forward to giving Marie her Christmas present.

Vince leaves on Wednesday, Marie’s parents pass through on Thursday, I head to Maryland on Friday, and I will return here on Sunday.

I talked with Allen yesterday.  I believe he and Jessica will get married on June 10th at sunrise.  He wants me to be in the wedding.  What an amazing thing!  I pray Marie is there with me.

Curtis will marry Megan in April.

Marie said she would like to go with me.