April 18, 1999 – Sunday – 7:09 a.m.

Two weeks and four days remain until I head back to Lees-McRae.  I look forward to walking alone on my own private mountain trails.  I need to think again with a clear mind.  The mountain air always does me good.

I called Allen yesterday morning.  Our conversation turned a bit serious when he told me that things went poorly with three of my dear friends as he attempted to do the boyfriend-girlfriend thing.  He said he feels terrible.  He crossed the line with each of them and they mean so much to me.  It hurt to hear it, but I can do nothing but love them and forgive them.  The conversation did make me very thankful to be there.  I’m surrounded by so much innocence and purity.  I would rather deal with loneliness than continually deal with the temptation I had to deal with during my days with Sarah.  God continues to heal me of all those past hurts and pains.  I want to me the real true me.

There really aren’t any girls here that seem to have my name on them.  My thoughts often dwell on Mary Jo, Kimberly, and even Kerstin, but I honestly don’t think they are for me.  I want to hold out for true love, and not just settle for a pretty girl I think I can live with.  Mary Jo has impressed me the most with her heart, but I’m afraid our future paths in life are completely different.

For my most immediate future, I want to live my life in airports.  I seem to find peace in them.  Perhaps because I already live each day watching others as I wait to fly away.

There was a funny moment that happened at IHOP the other night when I was there with the youth group.  I ordered pancakes and thought the thing in front of me on the table was syrup, but no…it was coffee.  And it came out fast.  I poured coffee all over my pancakes, myself, the table, those sitting next to me.  Marion laughed for the next ten minutes.  It was actually fantastic to be so the source of so much joy and laughter.

There are days when I like to be alone

To be still and silent

To listen

My stomach growls, my VCR rewinds

My memory does them both

A plane flies overhead

And I hear this pen move across this paper

 

Then there are days when I must listen to music

To hear the words of others as they dream

And to dream with them

I agree with Cindy Morgan, relate with Derek Webb

And adore Rebecca

But still there are times when my breath

Is the only music I need

 

And in this silent, I’ve come to ponder love

Is it terrible to love the wrong woman?

Is that such a waste of time?

If so, I wasted seven months

And can’t afford to spend this heart on the wrong one once again

The effort would be a tragedy

A ticking clock, never knowing the time

March 5, 1999 – Friday – 1:05 p.m.

See, I hardly have the time to write, it’s already March 5th!

It’s been a hard week.  Thursday night was nice.  I went over to Kimberly’s and Marion, Michelle, and Rebekah came to watch Sense & Sensibility with us.

But yesterday was horrible.  Outside of beautiful girls who are much younger than me, I have no one to hang out with.  No guy my age seems to care around here.  No one seems to know how to love and I fear it is happening to me.  I fear the busyness of this place is causing me to forget how to make time for people.  No one knows me well enough to trust their life and heart in my hands.  I try to give my time, but no one wants it.  No one wants my heart either.  I have beautiful girls to laugh with, but I have no truly close friend my age to cry with.

What I need now is someone to cry with.  I need Vince, Curtis, Dan, Allen, Charlie, Jeni, Tracey, Josh, Abigail, and Lindy.

Could the season of truly close friendships be over?  Does it only happen in the college dorm lifestyle when you share a bathroom and share a cafeteria?  Is it true that it can never happen again?

I’ve been sitting here for a minute.  I think I’m just angry because Amy rejected me and my roommate Matt and I don’t really get along.  I tried to befriend him, but he no longer talks to me.  I don’t even think he’s attending class anymore.

I need a friend God.

A true close friend.

Will all my friends remain in the mountains?  I hope they come see me soon.  There is talk of a few coming to visit over their spring break.

I hope, I hope.

December 29, 1998 – Tuesday – 9:30 a.m.

It is nearing the end of the year.  I rest in Milton, Florida, USA, and these days force me to look back.

Nineteen Hundred Ninety-Eight.

Thoughts of Sarah, as well as saying goodbye to Lees-McRae, took up the first six months. I still long for that place, but I’m secretly and silently afraid to go back to visit, for I fear I might ruin it’s impact on my life and my heart.

There was a month of transition in the middle of this year through which I visited Texas and South Africa, with brief stops in New York and Miami.  Those were such perfect days.  I wish I could go back and stay in them a little longer, for they were simply too short.

Virginia Beach, Regent University, and Parkway Temple all immediately fell into my lap and my heart.  It seemed as though my collection grew overnight, and now it is the only home I long for.

I am enjoying my time off here, but my parents’ marriage, my stepfather’s need to explain everything, and my mother’s non-displays-of-affection towards her husband and myself still shock and hurt me.  I simply do not understand.  I stay silent.

Emily said she would call yesterday.  She did not.  She reminds me of Sarah.

I just want to do it right.  I want a true and simple love.

The tiny smile of Christin is all I need.

Since my first semester of graduate school is over, it is time to pick the most cherished moments of that time.  There are only two, and I was fully aware they were perfect moments while they were happening.

The first was on November 28, 1998, the Saturday evening I spent with Tracey.  It was the moment during Riverdance in which a gentlemen played a beautiful bagpipe sort of instrument and the entire world stopped.  The music brought peace to the entirety of my days and perfect love to my heart.  I had an old friend by my side and even older memories in my mind.  I had just seen Vince and Allen, a beautiful sunset, and fantastic fireworks.

Perfection.

The next one took place during the early morning hours of December 13, 1998.  My Heart Will Go On played over the credits of Titanic.  Sterling was asleep on one side of me, and Christin was asleep on the other.  Her beautiful face was on my chest and my fingers were in her hair.

Perfection.

And so, a few days of this year remain.

Can 1999 be so close?

What is happening to this world?

Jesus, you are my shelter.

You are all I seek.

Please guide me.

 

December 16, 1998 – Wednesday – 10:09 p.m.

I called Sharon tonight and I spoke with her and Hannah.  Sharon’s dad died suddenly last Thursday.  She loves me so greatly, for even in her time of loss she gave me so much.  It overwhelms me to think that God loves me so much more than Sharon does.

You know… I have always thought that I had grand dreams and great goals, but I think that just this moment, after talking with Sharon and reliving memories with Hannah, those memories of our walks to Snowflake Inn and summer evenings of catching fireflies, I think I’ve already fulfilled the dreams I knew nothing of.  As I look back on myself now, it seems that little blonde-haired boy was always dreaming of the moment when I would run my hands over Christin’s hair, or touch Abigail’s face, or study the curves of Sarah’s cheeks, or laugh endlessly with Dan, Allen, Vince, Curtis, Charlie, Josh, and Justin.

It feels as though I have fulfilled all I was ever suppose to accomplish.

Oh, wouldn’t you agree, life is beautiful.

To hear Sharon talk of Laura tonight…she still remains one of, if not the most, beautiful and amazing girl I’ve ever come across.

I’m going to pray to my God now, because…life is beautiful!

December 1, 1998 – Tuesday – 8:18 a.m.

The final month of 1998 is here.  What a month this will be.  What a year this has been.  I have 21 days left of work, then I can rest.  I’ll relax here for about three days, then I’ll visit those I love.

Debbie’s little dream about Kimberly turned out to be a fluke.  I think she made the whole thing up and then lied to me when she said she wouldn’t tell Kimberly.  Kimberly acted really weird towards me on Sunday, so I talked with her about it.  Things are fine.  You’d think a woman in her 30s would be smarter than that.

This Thanksgiving weekend was such a perfect one with Allen, Vince, Tracey, Christin, and Sterling.  Christmas awaits, and I can’t wait to see Emily.  Nate will have grown so much I am sure.  I’m so happy that I won’t spend Christmas with any of the complaining folks on my dad’s side of the family.  Thanks God!

So, I begin this final month of the year.  It will hold Christmas shows, Christmas gatherings, final exams, research papers, plane rides, and new Crestview, FL memories.

I give it all to you Lord.

November 28, 1998 – Saturday – 11:38 p.m.

Never have I ever…well, that’s not true…I’ve experienced many perfect days, well more than I deserve, but today was uniquely perfect, insanely perfect, unfairly perfect.

Yesterday was spent with my two good friends; that afternoon we visit Drew, who lives about an hour away in the country.  We went squirrel hunting.  It was nice I guess, both only Drew was skilled enough to kill two squirrels.  Vince and Allen and I had no idea what we were doing.

I left the mountain town of Lynchburg this morning at 10:00.  The drive was peaceful and beautiful, filled with prayer and song for nearly four hours.  I took a shower when I arrived here to my apartment.  Then Tracey arrived, my beautiful friend whom I’ve known for over four years now.  We drove to Sandbridge and saw the sun set over the backwaters near the ocean.  The multitude of colors were absolutely stunning.  So pink, yet so blue, with such still water; I’m convinced God is in control.

Tracey and I drove back towards Norfolk and talked of life and love like old friends tend to do.  It was so good to have her near me.  She is the sight and the smell of my earliest days at Lees-McRae.  She was one of the faces that filled my days after I left home.  After pulling into downtown Norfolk, we ended up at a really expensive restaurant near the Scope.  We didn’t have much money, but we made the best of it, pretending like we were rich people.

Before the show started, we took the elevator to the highest level of the lobby and watched a display of fireworks erupting over the waterfront.  The city was celebrating the upcoming holidays.  Pleasure filled my eyes.  I was already moved by the sunset, but the sparkling fireworks over the Chesapeake Bay took me to a new level.

And then we watched Riverdance.

Every moment was perfect.  I was not alone.  During an instrumental piece it felt as though my life had come to another eternal instant.  I was perfectly content.  All that I had done in life to bring me to that moment felt like pure peace.

A friend, a sunset, a lovely dinner, fireworks, Riverdance, and a thankful heart–such good things.  And they can all be summed up with one word: Jesus.

 

November 27, 1998 – Friday – 8:15 a.m.

I’m in Lynchburg, VA.  This is an interesting little town.  I left Wednesday morning and the drive was so peaceful.  Vince’s parents’ house is an historical one that they are renovating.  It looks amazing on the inside.  Allen and Vince arrived Wednesday afternoon, and we went to a movie that night.  On Thursday we went for a walk downtown, and I took a bunch of pictures of us being silly.  It’s so good to be around them.

Yesterday’s meal was nice, but I’m not sure if Vince’s family are Christians.  I missed everyone sharing what they’re thankful for.

One thing I have noticed though, I had to leave Lees-McRae in order to grow.  Vince and Allen still seem like they are in the same place as they were when I left.  There’s nothing wrong with that, we are all on our own journey; I’m only looking at me and seeing what God is doing.

God gives me such good things.  Our moments of laugher with my friends this Thanksgiving were more than I ever deserve on this planet.  Every fleeting moment is a treasure.  Thank you Lord for these days.

November 9, 1998 – Monday – 5:30 p.m.

I don’t have much time to write, but I feel like talking to myself, and to God.

I love the weather this time of year.  I love the chill the tide brings in.  I’m enjoying this place.  It has become a home.  One like my old one on Foust Road.  One like my old one in McAlister Hall and even Tennessee Dorm.  One like my bed in Johannesburg, South Africa.

But God’s presence is where I will always be more comfortable.

I’m going over to Kimberly’s house tomorrow to study sign language for our show, and to also have dinner.  I pray it’s not too awkward.

I constantly miss Sharon’s home.

The Rebecca St. James concert is less than two weeks away.  Thanksgiving break with Allen, Vince, and Tracey is right after that.

And then the last month of this fantastic year!

October 22, 1998 – Thursday – 10:00 p.m.

I talked with Sharon tonight. Snow was in the air over Avery County this morning.  I wasn’t there to see it. October 27th was the first snowfall of my last LMC winter.  I didn’t realize how true that statement was when I wrote it nearly a year ago.

I’ve realized when I write these words in these spiral-bound books that they will never go away.  All 13 books are in my sight at this moment.  They sit on a shelf in my closet in front of me.  They are a record of nearly the past six years of my life.

I put Christmas lights up in my room this evening, and it caused me to miss the wintery feel of Banner Elk so much.  So, another day is closing.  One of the final ones for Tammie and Jose in this land.

I turned in four copies of the first draft of “Eyebrows” to the school’s team of producers yesterday.  They said I was the first of the final four to turn it in.  They seemed pleased and impressed.

And so God moves me on.  My memories fight with the present moment every day.  My heart questions why we can’t go back, but it also longs to see what is ahead.

I have no one to really talk to here.  I miss Vince and our deep talks to Counting Crows’ “August and Everything After.”  We had a ritual.  We would start with track four, “Perfect Blue Buildings,” and play it through to the end.  We would turn off the lights and stare up at his glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling, most of which were placed there by Laura, and we’d talk of God, love, and beauty until the midnight hour.

I miss Dan and I pondering over the questions of life while playing “Tetris 2” on the Super Nintendo.

I miss riding in Curtis’ car and staring out the window in deep thought.  He’s always ask me what was on my mind.  I’d always tell him.  I felt listened to.

I miss Allen disagreeing with my way of thinking.  He’d ask my advice and then go do the opposite.  But somehow it still made me feel loved by him.

And I miss Charlie, the one I’ve known the longest.

But God needs me elsewhere.  His breath is blowing me forward.  So, I continue and I do this not for me, for all I want is heaven, but God asks me to wait and spend more time with his creation first.

I cannot argue with that.  So that is what I will do.

But how can I live in today when I long for the past?  How can I make new friends when all I want are my old ones?  How can I help save others from a world I can’t admit I’m in?

Why did you make me this way God?  To find comfort in asking questions and not needing the answers.  Is that what faith is?  I don’t need the answers Lord, I just need to know you are listening.

I miss you.  I miss the eyes I’ve never seen.  You comfort me more than my memories and my Teddy Bear from Tenielle.  I want to hold you instead as I fall asleep.  Be with me tonight sweet Jesus, and take me to be with you.  I want to awake in heaven, but if I’m here tomorrow, I will laugh and play in your love.

Heaven feels closer tonight.

How perfect your grace is.

October 11, 1998 – Sunday – 9:17 a.m.

I cannot believe it is the eleventh already.

An incredible peace has come over my soul and spirit the past couple of days.  Yesterday’s film shoot was so much fun.  I cannot believe that is supposed to be work for me.

I look forward to each new day just to see what God has in store.  I miss the companionship of Vince, Dan, Allen, and Curtis, but I also enjoy the abundant alone time I have now.  Everyone at Lees-McRae is going to Hilton Head like we did last year.  There are over 30 people going, and many are freshmen I’ve never met.  That world has moved on without me.

I miss Africa as well.  Those were such perfect days.

What a perfect God!  He knows me inside and out.  I hand all of this over to him.