September 23, 1997 – Tuesday – 6:40 p.m.

Emily and Mason and I had a rehearsal today and it went beautifully.  They tell me that other students in acting class aren’t working well with their student directors.  They said that no other directors have had rehearsals yet.  They are so excited because they know their scene is going to be great.  I enjoy making them happy.  After our rehearsal I came to my room and sang praises to my God.  I get so uncontrollably happy when I direct.

I ate across the table from Abigail tonight and we carried on a little conversation.  And while we were getting ready to leave we stood next to each other.  Our bodies weren’t touching or anything but it just surprise me that I was very aware that she was there.

Autumn is here and it’s never been so beautiful.  Justin is becoming a trusting friend.  I’m so glad he’s here.  I’ll soon have my application complete and ready to send off to Regent University.  I also need to look into a summer job.

My days here are fading away.  I’m running out of time to bless my friends.  Soon I’ll simply be a person who just used to go here.  The Freshmen of next year won’t know me. The Freshmen of this year will most likely forget my face.  I’ll disappear like the bright yellow and red covering the mountainside.

But I leave knowing I at least made a difference while I was here, or the Jesus in me did anyway.  So many names, so many eyes.  Their lives have touched mine.  I am my collection.

I am who I am, only because of them.

September 1, 1997 – Monday – 1:05 p.m.

The month of change is over.  September is here.  One tree on campus has already begun to change into its harvesting colors.  I was on duty until 6 p.m. yesterday.  I wasn’t able to go to church, but I did attend a church picnic yesterday.  It was fun and enjoyable.  Afterwards, myself, Dan, Curtis, Ellen, Alex, and Alicia went to the Linville Gorge area and built a campfire.  Alicia is supposedly Allen’s new girl, but she just seems like a flirt to me.  After the campfire thing, we went to the parkway and just talked.  It was a nice evening.

These remaining months of the year always seem to go so fast.  But I’ll find time to watch the leaves change and the first snow come.  It looks like I may go to Dan’s house for Thanksgiving.  For Fall Break I may go with everyone on a little college retreat that Charlie is planning.

This is going to be a nice final year.  But, my RD write-ups are kind of uncomfortable and Abigail still acts weird to me.  This past weekend was a weird one.  Allen’s friend died, as did Princess Diana.  Someone stole my brother’s license plate and I had to deal with a bunch of drunks.  But none of that really affects me directly.  Weird how the oddest part of my life is other people’s problems.

Hmm.

Auditions are tomorrow.  I’m auditioning for The Misanthrope.  It opens in November.  This weekend, I believe I’m believe I’m going to Sherlive’s house.  At the end of the month I’m going to Louisville, KY for a Christian conference.

October brings Fall Break.  Thanksgiving in November.  Classes are over by December 17th.  Christmas.  1998.

Whew, life is fast.

September 30, 1996 – Monday – 8:30 a.m.

The last day of September.

Yesterday was great!  Marta came to church with me.  She really enjoyed it.  The high school guys were very impressed with the beautiful woman by my side.

At lunch, I went over to talk with Abigail.  The sunlight shone through the windows and hit her eyes.  The color that bounced back into mine was like the leaves of the mountain sides of these recent autumn evenings.

autumn

Her eyes were orange, yet brown, yet they perfectly mixed together and, well it made me forget what I was going to say.  I can’t remember if I said anything at all, I just know that I must have left looking pretty stupid.

I videoed The Taffetas that afternoon.  She was there, singing beautifully.  She knows the power of the Holy Spirit and I find that so beautiful.

I called her last night to talk about some scripture I had read.

She is amazing.

Look at me.

September is already over.  Three months of 1996 remain.  It’s difficult for me to believe that I have ever known anything other than Banner Elk and Lees-McRae College.  It’s hard for me to believe there was ever a time where my journal was full of Ryan and Christi and Jenna and Tenielle.

I was never supposed to make it this far.

But here I am.

I trust in you Lord.

October 14, 1995 – Saturday – 6:10 p.m.

Yesterday evening as I managed the house for Li’l Abner, I saw Jeni’s parents come through the door.

Jeni.

Remember her?

I often do not.

We talked.  Mostly about the rest of their family.  Jeni’s little cousin was there.  I asked her if she recognized me.  She nodded her head, but she did not look at me.

I do remember those days back in January and February of this year when Jeni and I were still together.  She would come into class and stare at me with a huge smile and I would look away.  I did not find her beautiful anymore.  On the outside or the inside.  That must have broken her heart.  To have someone promise you happiness for the rest of your life and then to take it all away…

I never see Jeni around other guys.  Her close friend Tracey is always with Derek.  I wonder if she is lonely.  I wonder if she is happy here.  She never looks very happy.  She does not go to Heaton Christian Church anymore.  Her facial features have changed.  Is this all because of me?  Am I responsible for the downfall of this girl?  Did I do this?

. . .

The leaves are changing colors.  They are falling off the trees.  They are turning the green grass into a golden carpet.

. . .

Things are good for me.

Dan, Jeff, Vince, Allen, Curtis, they all tell me that I am the “MacDaddy.”  They say that I have girls all over me and all around me.  They want to know how I do it.  But I don’t do anything.

Emily hasn’t written.

Syndi and I don’t talk much anymore.

Amy hangs around guys who aren’t Christians.

. . .

Soon, winter will come.

And snow will cover the golden carpet that will soon be raked away.

Moisture on my window will freeze, and soon, I will not be able to look out and see the trees that do not have any leaves on them.

October 1, 1995 – Sunday – 6:00 p.m.

My mom came up here this weekend to see the show.  Grandma and Aunt Sis were with her.  They took me out to eat and gave me some money!  It was good to see her.

Antigone ended today.  Kevin couldn’t make it, but I’ll see him later.  It’s beautiful outside today.  I am lying here on my bed, listening to the Legends of the Fall soundtrack.

It is peaceful.

I enjoyed Antigone so much.  I worked with such a great cast.  Everyone has complemented me on my work.  I have grown and learned so much.  They said I was born to be a comedian and to make people laugh.  They said I had talent and that it is going to take me far.

Antigone will never happen again, except in my memory.

Crystal, Clifton, and the Spradlings were there.  It was wonderful.

Dan, Vince, Allen, Curtis, and Jeff are turning out to be really good friends that I can possibly trust.  We hang out together all the time.  The other night we watched all three Star Wars movies back to back.

It’s October.

How far I’ve come.

Fall break is in 17 days.  I don’t know where I will be.

Last night Amy and I watched The ButterCream Gang.  It was great.  It is so wonderful hanging around her.

Simple little things happen each day.  So much so that I can’t write about it all.  Love and joy are all around me.  This land, these trees, these golden leaves, good friends, lovely girls…when did the world become so insanely beautiful?  I thought nothing could top my days with the Jason and the Emmanuel Players.  But perhaps these too are some of the best days of my life.

October 9, 1994 – Sunday – 11:05 p.m.

Today was great, but it had one small bad part.

But before today was yesterday.  Jeni and I ate lunch with Tracey and other girls yesterday.  Her parents arrived around 2:00 p.m.  Well truthfully, it was only her mom, sister, and her sister’s two kids.  They were really wonderful.  I like them a lot.  And Jeni told me that they said they really like me a lot.  We went to the horse stables yesterday so Paige, Jeni’s niece, could ride a horse.  She is 6- or 7-years old.  I enjoyed myself.

The play went well that night and we all ate breakfast together this morning.  I got to know them all a lot better.  Lisa and her family go to an Assemblies of God church.  It’s neat.

We all went to church together.  The sermon was great.  At the end, after we had had communion, I was holding Jeni’s hand and Jeni was holding Paige’s hand.  A teenage girl was playing a beautiful melody on the piano.  And at that moment, I can honestly say, I’ve don’t believe I’ve ever been happier.  I looked around and saw Charlie and Kristi, plus Olivia and Jason (another guy from my dorm that just started going to church with us).  I remembered the view on the way to church with all of the colored leaves spreading across the mountain sides.  I thought of all my friends back home and the time we had that scavenger hunt at Kiwanis Park.  I thought of Jonathan and our adventure to Deep Creek, plus all of my other Deep Creek trips.  Then I thought about earlier yesterday when I looked at the photo album Jeni’s mom had brought down.  It had pictures from Jeni’s freshman year in high school.  Her hair was blonde and she looked very different.  She was beautiful.

Then, while we were at church I looked over at her and I realized how much she means to me and that I was holding the hand of one of the most beautiful girls on the planet.  I thought of how far I had come and what my dreams were.  I thought of the love of Jesus.  I thought of the piano melody and at that moment I knew… I knew who I was.

I looked around at my surroundings, as though I was seeing it all through the lens of a movie camera.  And that has been the happiest moment of my life so far.

I met my mom after church.  We went to the Sunday School Lunch.  The only people who came were my mom and Kevin.  Marcus, Jenna, and Tenielle didn’t come, but I wasn’t that disappointed.

Jeni’s parents had to leave.  My mom and Kevin stayed.  They enjoyed the show greatly and Kevin talked to Tracey a little bit, then they left.  After Jeni and I ate dinner and we had to strike the set.  It was fun, but somebody said something to Jeni.  A very vulgar girl said that Jeni and I were always all over each other.  Truthfully, she simply sits on my lap between scenes.  She doesn’t kiss me, because she can’t stand the goatee.  Anyway, it really got to Jeni because she felt like she wasn’t being a good witness.

We talked and prayed about it and we’re okay now.  She is my prayer partner.

And Lord I ask you to pull us together so closely that our souls recognize the other so distinctly.

Thank you for true happiness.