February 18, 1998 – Wednesday – 9:30 a.m.

Oh man, I can’t believe this is happening.  Sarah and I are growing together so well.  I’m so in love with her.  And yet, this ship we are sailing on is sinking.

I’m beginning to notice so many little things about this beautiful world. The way the pink lemonade in the cafeteria pours out into my glass, the shape of the branches on the walk to back campus, the fog that settles in the valley.

I’m becoming more and more like Sarah every day and she is becoming more and more like me.  We both even have the same hair color now.  Guys on the hall thought I did it to look like her, but I told them it was for the show.

Oh, my Sarah is so beautiful and so soft.

The show opens tonight.  It’s great being in a show with her; to always have her around.

Last night I walked alone to the waterfall after midnight.  It was roaring so loudly.  It was so big and happy.  So happy to love, but it was also a bit afraid for those thousands of drops of water did not know where they were going.  But there was peace there as well.  God is leading the way.

Time is slipping away beneath me.  But I hardly even notice it.  For my eyes are filled with only three things these days:

My terrific friends.

My beautiful Sarah.

And the God who gave them both to me.

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December 21, 1997 – Sunday – 9:00 p.m.

Kevin and I plus Danny and Peter went to see the new James Bond flick on Friday night.  We’ve known each other 15 years now.  I find that amazing.

On Saturday Nate and I took a walk up to Ore Hill.  I wanted to see my old playground and also just to get outside (it is so much warmer down here in the lowlands).  But my playground had been destroyed.  The whole forest had been clear cut.  The trees were gone and a barren land laid before my eyes.  Where a few trees were still standing, half of them had been uprooted anyway thanks to the hurricane that came through a year or so ago.

Everything was different, but I still knew how to get to the top.  I could feel my way through that hill even though my original tree markers were gone.  We reached the top and found the caves.  Time had changed them a little, but they were still there.  It was difficult to go back the way we came, so Nate and I walked on and decided to return back to the main road by way of the old pine tree nursery, where I once stayed out in an old deer stand late one night, staring at the stars.  Whew, that has to be four or five years ago now.

And to my surprise, it wasn’t a nursery anymore, but a beautiful pine forest.  It towered over us and the smell of pine filled the air.  It was breathtaking.

It turns out to be true.  Things do grow.  Everything changes.  Trees will fall.  Trees will grow.  Enough said.

I talked to Sarah over the phone that night.  She sounded beautiful.  We made plans for Monday.  She gave me directions to her house.  I love her.  I love her.

. . .

Church was nice this morning.  We had a family gathering at Henry’s parents; there was good food and nice presents.

And this evening I went to High Falls to visit Dana, Tony, Lisa, and Kristen, my old Fishnet buddies.  Poor Kristen seems bored with life.  She wants so badly to have something to be excited about, but has no one to get excited with.  We have made plans to go horseback riding on Tuesday.  I hope we do.

Marcus and I hung out some more and I talked to Mike again.  I have forgotten how many friends I have here.  Thank you Lord for all I have.  It has all come from you.

Including my beautiful new tree, Sarah.

October 3, 1997 – Friday – 10:30 a.m.

Man, life is pretty cool.  Tuesday afternoon I hiked down to Elk River and laid out on the big rock where Charlie set up a cross.  I feel asleep and slept for an hour and a half.  It was so awesome.

Abigail and I have talked a little.  She apologized to me for acting so weird and taking things the wrong way.

Mason and Emily are doing wonderful in our scene.  I’m so proud of them.  I can’t wait for everyone to see it.  I’m even designing lights for it.

I was nominated for a scholarship today.  It’s based on my writing and it’s $2,500.  Way cool, huh?

I talked to Pastor Steve Wednesday night and asked him if he could send me that masks from the Mask Skit we used to do.  They arrived today.  It’s gonna be so awesome seeing this piece from my past performed again.

We had Bible study last night and Courtney came.  She was a pretty wild girl last year, but she said she got saved over the summer.  Then each of us wrote a little love letter to Jesus and Courtney’s was amazing.  She cried and couldn’t finish it, so I finished it for her.

Jesus can change everything.

We watched Liar, Liar after Bible study last night.  It was so good for all the guys and girls to hang out together.  We leave for Washington D.C. today to go to Stand In The Gap. It should be fun.

October is already here.  My application for Regent is nearly complete.  I will take the GRE next month.

Life is moving along and I can’t help but smile.

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.

August 29, 1997 – Friday – 9:30 a.m.

We had our Bible study at Canon Cottage last night.  Sherlive came up to my room afterwards and we just sat on my bed and talked for nearly two hours.  I read her a couple of stories that I wrote in Creative Writing a year ago.  She is simple and fun and Sherlive.

Allen and I talked for about an hour yesterday about everyone graduating soon and leaving this place.  It’s gonna be so weird.

Eight months and one week.

I guess I should apply to graduate school at Regent University soon.

This is simply my road to Heaven!

August 28, 1997 – Thursday – 11:50 a.m.

Three full years now.

There is a lump in my throat.  I lay in my bed in a somewhat emotional state, I’ll admit, but everything I’m thinking feels painfully true.

I’m getting older.  I’m losing my hair.  I’m dying.  My mother will soon be a child and I will be her father to take care of her.  My youth seems to be escaping me.

Although I hate it, I’ll probably have to play the dating game soon.  Hmmm.

Am I still young?  What about those days from so long ago?  Those days of innocence with Jenna and Tenielle?  All my life, I’ve always wanted to be different.  People color their hair, pierce their bodies, but I was going to remain different by staying the same.  But I have changed.  I am changing.  Changing like the rest of the generation and the world.  I wish I could escape somehow and not be a part of this.  That way I would be completely different.

But instead my sin has also killed Christ and he died for me as well as all the others.  I am no different.  I am a sinner.  I did nothing for my salvation.  I simply accepted His Grace.  So I will continue to live and go through this life in the footsteps of my forefathers.  I will simply try to share God’s love in all I do and everywhere I go.

My emotions will tickle me.  I will laugh, cry, and simply live this roller coaster with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye.  This mask will leave me and I will be free.  My freedom comes now in simply knowing that I will be soon.  Loving and praising God is all that matters and all that will last.  That is the key.  That is the absolute.  That is the truth.

My children will begin to leave me on the day they are born.  And I will love people by letting them go.

And I will even let myself go.