September 28, 1997 – Sunday – 1:40 a.m.

I’m in my room again.  The drives to Louisville and back were as much fun as any time we spent there.

I have grown accustomed to my new apartment.  It is now my place, my room, but I couldn’t call it my home.  Lees-McRae is my home, and this is simply my room.

After I got back from Kentucky, I went down to Cannon lobby and discovered that a lot of people were down there singing praises to our God!  Abigail had some friends up and Tracey’s family was there.  I joined in and it was a wonderful time of song.  Abigail’s face was a huge and constant smile.  I could see in her eyes how special those two people were to her.  She was amazingly happy and that happiness had nothing to do with me.  That’s probably how it will always be and how it should always be.

Jeni is going to Banner Elk Christian Fellowship tomorrow.  She is excited about seeing David, I think something nice happened between them while I was gone.

I saw an unbelievable Kentucky sunset a few hours ago.  It really was an amazing drive home.  Dr. and Mrs. Martin told Charlie and I the story of how they met, it was just a couple of days into their Freshmen year of college.

I was reading a little bit out of my older Books of Days.  I read about Jenna and Tenielle and about lost keys and alphabets.  How crazy and different I seemed back them.  But that was me then and it isn’t me now.

It made me realize that very soon all of these girls here at Lees-McRae will simply be stories in My Book of Days.  But they haven’t completely faded from my heart into the pages of my journal just yet.  I still remember Jeni’s long, soft legs and the curves of Abigail’s face.  I still dream of Jessica’s hair, Ann-Marie’s smile, and Ellen’s laugh.  These girls mean more to me than I ever let them know.

Then there are the new girls like Sarah and Sherlive, whose college experience will continue on without me.  Every night I go to bed so thankful, so thankful for an extra day with these beautiful women and my fantastic guy friends.  They are bringing me closer to God.  God is loving me through them.

Lees-McRae is passing and I know I’ll be able to let it go.  These people here are everything to me.  When we reach the other side, I’m sure one of the first things I’ll do is look for them.

I have been here simply to love

To witness and experience joy and fun

Soon I’ll leave calmly like a dove

The way night does when day is done.

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September 7, 1997 – Sunday – 12:49 p.m.

Around four o’clock Friday afternoon I made my departure from the grand state of North Carolina in Sherlive’s red Nissan.  I sat alone in the back.  We drove into Tennessee while Anna, a freshman from New York, sat in the passenger’s seat.

Sherlive has quite an interesting family.  Her mother looks like her eyes are always closed.  She is constantly taking pictures and rambling.  But she is very loving.  Sherlive’s father, with his super deep voice, always begins each sentence with “when I was a boy.”  He cooked enough food for an army, but lives in yesterday.  Then, Mikayla, Sherlive’s 3-year-old adopted sister, clung to me like her long lost brother.  She’s a wonderful little girl and a great new friend.

After dinner on Friday night, we went to an Elizabethton High School football game.  Sherlive wanted to see some old friends and see the high school band, one she used to be a part of.  The game was okay, I was just kinda amazed by the whole high school scene.  I feel old.

Sherlive, Anna, and myself got into some deep conversations about life, love, and relationships.  After halftime we ended up at a coffee shop in Johnson City.  Anna is this cute little 100% Greek girl who feels more like someone’s grandmother instead of an 18-year-old, but I mean that in a cool way.

Dan met us Saturday morning to go hiking with us.  He ate breakfast with us too; a huge amount of food made by Sherlive’s dad.  We went to Blue Hold and then to Red Fork Falls, at least I think that’s what it was called.  They were really pretty places.  I took some pictures.

Sherlive is such a funny little nutcase.  She goes rock climbing in her bare feet and Dan says “Hey is Blue Hole cool?”

“No, it’s cold.” she says.

Dan looks at me funny.  “Okay, well, is it rad?”

“No, it’s blue!”

Dan and I burst out laughing.  Then, after Sherlive has been stuck on the side of the cliff for about 30 minutes, Dan just jumps up and runs towards it and scurries up it like a squirrel.  He reaches the top that Sherlive has been trying to climb to in two seconds.  Oh, Sherlive was so mad, she just screamed bloody murder.

In the middle of all the beautiful scenery, Dan and I just broke free, ran around, and laughed our butts off everywhere we went.  We stuck our heads out the window whenever we were in the car and just hooted and hollered the whole day.  If I wrote down every funny thing we said, oh, this book would be full.

Linda visited me last night.  We sort of got caught up on our Box Office talk.  And Marisa called me last night.  She said she just wanted to hear my voice.

Church was amazing this morning.  I cried.  Heaven is a guarantee.

Abigail and Ann-Marie both come to Heaton now.  Our college age group is so huge.

Friends.  What an amazing concept.  I would do anything for these people.

I would live.

I would die.

August 10, 1997 – Sunday – 4:05 p.m.

Marisa turns 15 today.  I turn 21 in a week.

Dan has gone home.  The place feels empty.  This next week I will move to McAlister; I’ll have a smaller apartment with one less room than this one.

It just started to rain.

For the next hour and a half, I’ll exist quietly in these three rooms.  I will listen to slow and soothing music, and I will read and write.  At 5:30 p.m. I will go back to the box office to sell tickets and I’ll enjoy the show again tonight.

Jeanine will sleep in here tonight since her mom is visiting and will take her bed.

RD training begins on Monday and I will also check everyone out of Tennessee Dorm between Monday and Wednesday.

Children of Eden ends tomorrow.  Lindy and I began with three full ticket racks and now we are nearly empty.  Everyone has loved this show.

My final year of college is so close.  How different it will be.  My rounds will now include seven buildings instead of just two hallways.  I will tackle directing and horseback riding.

So my simple and relaxing summer will soon end and I will never live in these walls again.  What have these walls seen?  Jeni and I kissing.  Dan and I wondering.  Charlie crying over Kate.  And me watching Sherlive as she slept.

The summer of 1997.

Nothing ever stays the same.

Charlie and I went to see Conspiracy Theory last night.  I enjoyed it.  I helped Charlie in Junior Worship this morning and ate with Tracey and her family plus Lindy and Ann-Marie at the Banner Elk Cafe.

It’s difficult for me to remember who I was before Lees-McRae.  I almost feel like my senior year will be the last year of my life.  Leaving this place seems close to death.

But surely there are no real goodbyes among Christians.

It’s 4:45 p.m.

Am I still living in my youth?  Or are those days gone?

4:47 p.m.

And so…well…

Weird, huh?

 

July 26, 1997 – Saturday – 10:00 a.m.

Today is Rebecca St. James’ birthday.  She is 20-years-old.

Orientation is not quite over.  How exciting this age is.  How exciting these days are.  To join together with four hundred people your own age, and to live in such a small, personal space with those individuals and their eyes who are striving and longing for that same goal.

My Lees-McRae College story has only one year left.  I can only tell my story as I experienced it.  I can tell no one else’s.  And after this year, that story will be complete; well, at least the story of my official time as a student will be complete.  Then, I will begin a new story in a new place and there I will join with other eyes who are seeking the same goal.

And after that, I do not believe this type of life will ever happen again.  Well, maybe in an old folks home.  Wouldn’t it be great if Dan, Allen, Vince, and Curtis and I all ended up in the same old folks home several decades from now!

But as for today, I feel as though Lees-McRae is mine.  I feel as though Banner Elk is mine.    I feel is it my job to love and care for the people here.

Jeanine went home for the weekend, so Kristina, the little 11-year-old girl Jeanine is here to look after, was alone.  After Forever Plaid last night, which I watched with Sherlive, Kristina, plus tons of other people like Marisa, her brother Mason, Ann-Marie, Tracey, etc., all just played around in the lobby.  Around one o’clock in the morning, everyone left except for Kristina.  I don’t think she wanted to be alone.  So, I told her I’d stay with her.  I slept in her room on Jeanine’s bed.  We fell asleep while watching The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

I awoke this morning to see Kristina sound asleep.  Another set of eyes.  Another name.  Another soul.  Just a little girl, like Veronica, like Jenna, like Tenielle, and like Hannah.  Perhaps God has brought so many young girls into my life to teach me that every woman I will ever meet…well, part of her will always be that little girl; that little girl that just wants to be loved and protected and reminded that she isn’t alone.

 

 

 

July 7, 1997 – Monday – 1:25 a.m.

Wow, what a recent couple of days.

Thursday evening I hung out with Lindy, Ann-Marie, Tracey, and Jeni at the Mill Pond.  Jeni and I found sticks and pretended they were swords.  Then we started wrestling.  I had a good time, and right now I can’t remember what I did later that night.

Friday, the fourth of July, came and for the first half of the day I waited around for Vince, so he and I and Allen could do something.  But he went out to eat with Laura and never came back.  So, I just left with Tracey and Jeni.  We went to the Tweetsie Railroad parking lot just to see what was going on, then we went to The Farm House to see Derek and Dawn, and then we ended up at the dollar theater and watched Sling Blade.  Wow, a great film!

Saturday morning began with me trying to get a five foot snake out of one of my residents’ bed.  That is a story in and of itself, but we finally got it out.

Also, Vince confronted Laura about their physical issues.  She ran away from him on Saturday.  Then she returned and brought him a box full of everything he ever gave her.  Charlie came over and Vince, Allen, Charlie and myself had a big talk about relationships.  Vince and Laura got things worked out, but Charlie and Kate…oh boy!

After we talked for a while on Saturday, we went to Johnson City, TN and walked around the mall.  We ate pizza, saw Men in Black, a completely stupid movie, and Charlie stopped to look at engagement rings.  It was weird.  They’ve broken up, but he’s looking at engagement rings.  That stage of my life seems so far away from me right now.

Charlie is a mess, but Kate seems to love her newly found freedom away from him.

Sunday (today) was Homecoming Sunday.  Our new pastor was there.  His name is Brent.  Jim was also there.  There was a lot of food, so I ate a good lunch.

A girl, a visitor, caught my eye and we smiled at each other; so delightful when a new face comes along.

A lot of guys from the church made plans to play tennis that afternoon, and we did, but then Charlie came by with a hitchhiker and asked me to go with the two of them to Lenoir.

There is a very detailed story that I must explain, but I’ll do that in the morning hopefully.

Dan is back.  He looks like Jesus with his long hair and beard.  We’ve had so much fun already.  He’s staying with me.

More to tell, but I’m so sleepy.

July 2, 1997 – Wednesday – 11:30 p.m.

The box office was relaxing yesterday afternoon.  Lindy and I sure know how to laugh together. After work, Jeni, Ann-Marie, and I went to the Emporium for dinner and to see My Best Friend’s Wedding.  I laughed so hard.

But it also me a lesson.  Earlier in the day, Jeni and I talked a little about what had happened between us a few days earlier, you know, all the late night kissing.  People think we would be a good couple.  I asked Jeni what she thought when she heard people say that.  She said she felt happy and proud.

But tonight, the movie helped me realize that Jeni is just a wonderful friend that I once had a deeper relationship with.  I do not love her other than as my sister in Christ.  And I do not want to be with her.

Thanks for forgiving me for my mistakes God.

This evening was wonderful.  Vince and I finally sat down and talked.  And I mean TALKED.  I can’t go into detail now, because I’m so excited.  But my friend is back.  I am back.  Allen is back.  Dan will be here Sunday.  We will strengthen each other.

Some things have happened with Vince and Laura.  Picture the way Jeni and I used to be so physical two and a half years ago and that is Vince and Laura today.  He knows its wrong, but there are other things with her personality that he doesn’t like and he wants to break up with her.  I will be praying for them.

But right now, I am so amazed by God’s grace, love, and forgiveness.  He is so great!

June 28, 1997 – Saturday – 4:30 p.m.

I have a short break from the box office.

Abigail came to visit her circle of friends today:  Ann-Marie, Jeni, and Tracey.  They all came by the box office.  I hugged her.  I have gotten taller I suppose, for I had to reach down further than before.

It is cloudy outside now.  I walked to Allen’s room this morning.  It seems as though Lees-McRae College and Banner Elk do not really exist.  It seems as if this place will vanish after I leave.  As if all of this came into existence just so I would have a place to live for four years.  I know it’s not true and I know it’s strange, but still, I feel as though this place is mine.  But perhaps that is what the world needs, more people like me, who truly feel at home.

But yesterday I met so many new freshman.  It saddens me that I will not be here for their entire four years.  It doesn’t matter that I am remembered after I leave.  It only matters that I will remember this time and this place.