April 5, 1998 – Sunday – 7:30 p.m.

I now reside in a red chair in the last row of the waiting area for gate C36 at the Atlanta International Airport.  My 7:40 flight was cancelled, so I will not depart until 9:20 p.m.

My flight from Tampa to Atlanta was on the largest plane I’ve ever been on.  I sat one seat across from Rob, who was also at the leadership camp.  Carla, Curtis’ childhood friend who still lives in Atlanta, met up with the both of us and we had a nice little meal.  Rob went on to fly to Raleigh-Durham, and Carla and I just sat and talked about Curtis.  She eventually had to leave to go have dinner with her dad.

So, I am now in my solitude.

I tried to call Sarah from a pay phone, but she wasn’t in.

So, now I have adequate time to reflect.  The sun is setting directly to my left.  I am facing north.  Huge airplanes reside out the window, all preparing to take lovers to loved ones, or even lovers away from loved ones.

This place has grown empty.  Not too many people are around me now.

While still at the Tampa airport, I spent two hours talking with Joel and Carlee.  They were both at the camp as well.  Carlee had been on six mission trips and said the experience completely changes you.  That excited and scared me, for I simply don’t know what is to become of Sarah and I, so what if this summer really does change me?

I read an article in CCM about Margaret Becker.  She spoke of seeing life as a process, as a journey of the soul into the mystery of God.

She said, “The mystery of this love relationship, not the final destination, is the bottom line.”

The mystery is the point, the whole point.  At least I think that’s what she’s trying to say.

Another thing I learned from the article is that to be totally free is to not be burdened by tomorrow.

She also said, “I’m so tired of trying to define a love affair with words.  Our language is not up to the task.  So why are we even trying?  Let’s just talk about whatever glimpse of passion that each moment is, and let’s just hope to God that within that huge ocean, He’ll take a droplet out that makes sense to everybody…”

It’ll take me my whole life to drink that ocean, perhaps even to consume that droplet.

“God must have a great sense of humor.  He delights in contradictions.  The weak really are the strong.  The last shall be first.  The meek shall inherit the earth.  The list goes on and on.  One needs only to accept God’s absolute control to find absolute freedom.  To accept the poverty of our humanness is to enjoy the riches found therein.”

The sun has set, for only an orange haze remains at the horizon.

I’ve been selfish with my life.  See, I called it mine.  I’ve been selfish with His life.  Every step I have is because of Him.  Every joy of life is because of Him.

Sarah is because of Him.

Oh God, I want you and nothing else.

May 15, 1997 – Thursday – 10:15 p.m.

I am in Atlanta, Georgia.  Life sure is a funny thing.

We went to the revival in Pensacola at Brownsville Assembly last night, but for some reason they weren’t having a service on that Wednesday night, so I came back and watched a little TV.  I watched the series finale of Coach; it was very good.

We left this morning.  Ryan cried.  I don’t know what Curtis sees in that girl.  But I’m not sure I want to know.  Life is easier when you don’t understand everything.

The drive was hot and we passed by that bridge in Chambers County, Alabama where Marcus and I broke down in August of 1995.  I spent so many hours of hope and worry under that bridge.  Part of me will be trapped there forever.

Carla came over here tonight and we went out to eat.  She’s such a pretty girl.  I don’t know why Curtis treats her so badly.  Well, we had a nice talk.  We talked about city life versus country life.  I’m so glad I got to see her.

This trip has made me appreciate the home I have in Banner Elk.  It’s like I’m the king of the world there.  I can’t seem to go wrong there.  But I have only one year left.

I really miss Jessica.  She is just so simple.  She’s so fun and easy to get along with.  She makes so much sense to me.

I’ve grown too old.  I long to be young again.  I long to be childlike.  I want to find joy in simplicity.  I want to smile at each new step and each new second.

I am lying down on a foldout sofa in a home office on Cartsworth Circle in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.

How in the world did little me, a blonde baby boy who learned to crawl, walk, and talk in Germany, but learned of life and love in North Carolina, ever end up here?

May 12, 1997 – Monday – 10:11 a.m.

After we moved Ryan in on Saturday, we went to see Austin Powers.  It was pretty funny.  Ryan cooked dinner that night.  She is trying to get Curtis to stay down here with her, but his mom wants him in Atlanta.

On Sunday we went to a nearby church, we went to the beach, and I went to see The Devil’s Own, a wonderful movie; the best I’ve seen all year.  We then ate at Applebee’s that night.

I’m having a fun time down here, but Ryan is simply annoying.  I don’t know how Curtis can stand her.  I can’t believe he chooses her over Carla.  Oh well.

Other than that, everything is peaceful.  The beach is wonderful.  Curtis is hilarious.  And God is good.

March 8, 1996 – Saturday – 10:00 p.m.

Another evening in Atlanta is coming to a close.  Curtis and I met up with Carla at Applebee’s.  We ate dinner and then drove around and spent some time in Curtis’ room.  Carla is such a neat girl.  We had fun.  I hope I can talk with her again.

The three of us sat on the sofa and played with Curtis’ beagle Chili.  A memorable and different night.  It’s possible it will turn out as one of the best in retrospect.

Carla said I was unlike any other guy she had ever met.  She said I was different and unique in a good way, yet she couldn’t really explain how.

It was nice getting to know a complete stranger in the span of 24 hours.

And so the moment has come.  I am going to sleep now.  Tomorrow I will take my first flight, be in Arizona for the first time, and see my first good friend that I got to know at Abundant Life Christian Center.