September 17, 1995 – Sunday – 1:47 a.m.

I went to a party tonight at Eliana’s house.  It was her 21st birthday.  Vince and Dan went with me.  We had fun.  A lot of people were drinking and they all wanted me to drink as well.  That was the first time I had ever been exposed to stuff like that, but I laughed and made a joke out of it and said “no, thanks.”  Others seemed to respect me for it.

I called Christi tonight.  I had to ask her a few questions about old games we use to play during youth group.  While I talked to her I realized I was listening to The Power of One soundtrack.  It was that exact song that she and Ryan choreographed a little skit to on the bright green grass at San Lee Park so long ago.  I still vividly remember those jean shorts she was wearing.  And the strength in her bare feet as bounced around on the grass.

Woman's bare feet in grass with daisies between toes

Grass that dies, only to be reborn.

Oh, how I miss her.

A couple of times each year, something will happen and I’ll begin to endlessly think about Christi.

So much so, that I can’t even sleep.

September 4, 1995 – Monday – 3:40 p.m.

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Four very special days are coming to a close.  Syndi and I returned from our weekend away about 20 minutes ago.  I just got finished unpacking my clothes.  This entry will probably not be in chronological order, but nonetheless I spent almost every second of the past four days with beautiful Syndi.  We went to Deep Creek with my parents.  We went tubing.  She wore her bathing suit.  We took hikes.  We went and saw three amazing waterfalls together.  I took tons of pictures.  We drove to Cherokee, played miniature golf, rode go-carts, and I spent a lot of money I didn’t really have.  We ate at Pizza Hut and we looked out over that never-changing scene.  She held my hand while we hiked, and whenever we sat down to rest, she would put her head on my shoulder and I would put my arm around her.  We would hold hands while tubing down the creek.  We would make jokes and laugh.

In short, I roamed the playground of my youth, the place I visited every summer for the past decade, with a gorgeous tall redhead who clung so close to my side.  Syndi and I were inseparable.  And everywhere we drove we listened to the same song over and over because she had the single stuck in her cassette player and couldn’t get it out.  So any time in the future, when I hear The Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) I’ll think of Syndi and our perfect weekend in the Smoky Mountains.

A really funny moment was when Syndi and I were simply hanging out at the campsite after we had finished tubing.  She was still in her bathing suit.  We were just sitting next to each other on our tubes, and I don’t know, but I guess I yawned or something and my grandpa asked what was wrong.  I said, “I don’t know, I guess I’m just bored.”  He turned around and mumbled, “Son, how can you be bored with something like that sitting right next to you?”  He didn’t mean for Syndi and I to hear that, but we sure did.  We had a good laugh.  But it is a blessing to be seen with such a beautiful woman.  Especially one who spent nearly the whole weekend in a bikini.

So much more happened, but last night as we were coming back from Pizza Hut, we turned to go to the recreation park.  I pulled the car up a hill and turned it around so we could face the sunset.  And there began one of the most interesting conversations I have ever known.  She wanted to know why I do the things I do.  By this she was referring to my Christianity.  And with our hands holding each others and my head on her shoulder, I told her how much I love Jesus and why.  I almost cried trying to explain it.  She held my hand tighter as I continued to talk.  And with my head in her lap and her fingers running through my hair, she told me so many things.  She told me little childhood stories and things in her past.  A life so different from my own.  She told me about Eric, her boyfriend/ex-boyfriend, whom she can’t seem to let go of.  He is a drug-addict, and admits it.  And Syndi basically referred to her alcohol as her own god.  Yet, throughout our differences in conversation and beliefs our bodies got closer.  My lips ran across the back of her neck.  And, at one point, I eventually fell asleep with my head in her lap.

Earlier that day, we decided we both needed to take a shower, but the only way to take one is to pay for it at the laundromat.  So, I was in the men’s shower and she was in the woman’s shower.  Syndi finished before me and when she walked to the car, she said a woman came up to her and said, “Your husband sure does take a long time in that shower, doesn’t he.”  She said she didn’t have the heart to correct her, and for a few times that night, Syndi called me “her hubby.”

I asked her why she was with me this weekend and why she spent so much time with me?  Why she seems so concerned with my life?

She said she found me interesting.

Normally, Syndi is not the kind of person I would hang around and she said the same about me.  However, this non-Christian, this “person-of-the-world”, is on my mind 24/7.

For the past few years while at Deep Creek, I secretly hoped to meet a special girl.  And I did.  I met Emily.  This year however, I brought one with me.

I am not any better than Syndi.  She is not any better than me.  Jesus died for her just like he died for me.  She is a child of God who is simply lost.

And I am a child of God, who in the long run, will probably lose her.