It’s April 30, 1995.
I am in my room on the back campus of Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina. Earlier today I was at Heaton Christian Church, but yesterday I was at Carowinds near Charlotte, North Carolina, which is where I was a year ago this time today as well.
We arrived there about 11:30 a.m. Traffic was packed., so Mr. Angel let us off on the interstate. We jumped the fence, ran through a briar patch, sprinted across a field, and jogged through the parking lot to make it to the front gate. That easily saved us an hour. The lines through the front gate were super long, so I didn’t get inside the park until a quarter to one, but I was supposed to meet Kevin and Tenielle at noon. Since I didn’t see them, I just hung around with Gary, Lisa, Laura, and Paul. We went on The Hurler first. We waited in line for an hour, but then the coaster was over just like that. It was still a lot of fun.
We then got in line for the Carolina Cyclone. I asked them to hold my place in line while I walked around real quick and tried to find my brother. I walked around the park once, but I didn’t see him. I went back to the Cyclone, but there was no line and the ride was closed. So, Lisa and all of them were gone. I walked around the park again, but found no one. I decided to watch the ice show; it was great. It ended around 3:30 p.m. and I went over to the Paladium where some small bands were playing and I sat down in an empty row. I looked around hoping to see somebody I knew, but I didn’t. I felt lonely.
Despite being surrounded by thousands of people, I was alone.
Then a few seconds later I heard a girl screaming and I also heard footsteps. I turned to the left and I saw two girls wearing white and one guy in red running towards me with open arms.
I stood up. Then I recognized Jenna’s face. She was an inch away from me when I realized it was her. Then my body was grabbed. She gave me a huge hug and then let go. The guy in the red T-shirt was my brother. He immediately hugged me. The other girl was named Melissa, a friend of Jenna and Tenielle’s from school. I met her at the skating ranch once.
I was not alone any more.
I had friends.
The first thing I said to Jenna was, “I love you.”
Kevin introduced me to two of his friends from school named Rudy and Randy. Jenna and Melissa and I went to get something to eat. The line was short at The Hurler, so we quickly rode that one. Jenna heard from another friend that Tenielle was at the bridge to get soaked. We ran over there, and she was talking so much that she didn’t see us. I walked right up to her and said, “hey.” She screamed so loud and immediately hugged my neck.
I didn’t see Marcus until the Geoff Moore concert that night. The concert was awesome and Marcus is doing great.
Geoff Moore and the Distance sang one song about love, and what the eyes see when they are in love. And as I was sitting there, surrounded by the great people in the world: Jenna, Tenielle, Kevin, Marcus, and about 15,000 other people, I began to think of only one person.
Even when Tenielle was a breath away, even when I could reach out and touch Jenna, I was thinking of Emily.
And again, I began to feel a little lonely. I don’t understand it. All I will ever need is around me, but the one thing I want is in Florida.
The night continued. Carman came on and 15,000 people praised the Lord at one time. In the midst of them was little me with his hands raised.
The night came to an end and I hugged everyone and said my goodbyes.
“I miss you,” Jenna told me.
“Really?” I asked.
“Yes.” She replied.
I told her I would be home in eleven days.
By the time we got to the school it was already the 30th of April. I slept wonderfully and then got up and went to church.
Today was Youth Sunday. The young people led the service. Everyone did an awesome job. I told Molly that I will be here next Sunday, but then I wouldn’t be around for three months. She said she would miss me. There are so many wonderful people at that church. Thank you for them Lord.
In 10 days, I will not be as free as I am now. I realize that my parents will place restrictions on me and I also might not have the privacy and the solitude that I have now. But God has a purpose for me this summer. I know that I am to prepare for the upcoming year of school. For the ’95-’96 school year, I will be an RA, plus a drama director at church.
And so I continue. At McDonald’s. At Abundant Life.
I need a friend.
I need Jonathan.
I need Emily.
I need Love.
I need to go to Fishnet.
I need to go to Deep Creek.
I need to go to Crestview.
I am here Lord. Please forgive me for all of the wrong I have done. Make me bold please. Make me strong please.
Heal me. Use me.
Hug me. Touch me.