May 25, 1998 – Monday – 4:29 p.m.

My life has just begun, yet I already feel tired.  There are just so many people out there in the world.

Sarah and I had such an amazing weekend.  Our relationship has gotten so tight recently.  Saturday afternoon, wow!  She had my body on fire and shaking uncontrollably.  We are still virgins, of course, but I think we went too far.  We talked about it yesterday and while she was quiet she seem to agree that we shouldn’t go that far again.

I saw Christi and Jason yesterday.  I met her fiancé and Jason is getting married in three weeks and moving to Seattle.  Both Matt and Andy are going to move to Wilmington and try to get into the small film industry there.

My parents gave me $500 to help with the missions trip.  Thirty-six days remain until I leave for VA Beach, and then seven until I fly out to Dallas.  I’ve never been to Texas before.  And I found out Regent gave me a $2000 grant for next year, so that’s great news!

Here I am.

I’m almost 22-years-old, and I’ve had a steady girlfriend for half a year now, which is a record for me.  I’m going to leave the country for the first time since 1982.  I’m planning out which graduate courses I’ll take for the next two years at Regent.  And I’m currently paying rent for an apartment I have yet to see.  And I’ll soon be sharing that apartment with someone I’ve never met.

My parents are moving close to my long lost romantic pen pal.  My friends are getting married, even those younger than me.  No one truly close to me has yet to die, however, deep down, I have a feeling that I’m going to live a very long time and see experience many people die along the way.

And when I am old, gray, and wrinkled, I will be haunted by all the beautiful eyes and smiles I’ve seen along the way.

I’ll even be haunted by these pages I so diligently write in.

 

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May 19, 1998 – Tuesday – 11:44 p.m.

I left at a little after 7:00 p.m. tonight to go to a Bible study.  It was amazing.  They prayed for me.  God said the money for my trip will come in and I will be surprised.  They anointed my feet for travel.  And through someone there, God told me to keep my head up because he was going to use my handsome features.  I asked God to speak to me tonight and he sure did.  He said I would live a long life serving him.

What a joy!  Thank you Jesus.

After the Bible study, I went to visit Christi.  She was the only one home, but all her brothers are supposed to come home this weekend.  Christi looked so beautiful.  She was so thin and tanned.  I told her about South Africa and she got so excited for me.

And then she told me she was getting married in November.  Can you believe that?  This past Sunday was the year anniversary of her accident. However, she is not marrying the guy who was her boyfriend at the time who was in the car with her.

I listened to Christi talk the whole night.  She seems to be doing really well with Jesus.  She said Cheryl is dating a great Christian guy and Jason is getting married in July.  However, she had no news of Ryan or Amy.

Andy has a graduation party Sunday, and I hope I can bring Sarah to it.

Life is amazing.  God is good to all my friends.  He is doing everything.  I just get to show up and enjoy it.

Inseparable friends.

Christi said she was talking with her dad about me today.  We also talked about the old skit group.  I’ve grown so much since those days.

I am home.  Lees-McRae was a beautiful season; a season I am deeply in love with.  Thanks to that time, I now have a collection that spans the continent.

Bless Sarah tonight Lord.  May she sleep in your perfect peace.

December 7, 1997 – Sunday – 11:00 a.m.

I am on duty, so I couldn’t go to church this morning.  I slept in on this morning and basically just abided in the Lord’s presence and thought about Him and my life.

My how things have changed.

Over the past five years my thoughts have changed from Veronica to Ryan to Christi to Jenna to Tenielle to Jeni to Christi to Syndi to Laura to Abigail to Jessica to Sherlive to Abigail and now to Sarah.

I called Marcus yesterday.  We had a great talk and I told him about Sarah.  He was amazed.

Sarah and I were at the basketball game together yesterday.  We talked about some pretty deep stuff last night.  She has so many stories inside her.  Some sad, some happy, some romantic, some hilarious.  And she is slowly telling all of them to me.

Our relationship is not a “boyfriend/girlfriend” relationship.  It is a “God has allowed us to share our existence together for a short while” relationship.

I am happy and very content.

I don’t see the other girls as much these days.  But like I said, “things change.”

Dan, Allen, Vince, Curtis, and Justin are the greatest guys in the world.  I’m living a wonderful life, and I’m living it for God.  Thank you for my salvation Lord!  Thank you for my life in you!  You are all that matters.

May 22, 1997 – Thursday – 4:13 p.m.

I got my hair cut yesterday, but not by much.  I also went by Lowe’s Food and talked to Scott.  I haven’t seen him in a year and a half.  He’s very different.

After church last night, Marcus and I went to visit Christi and Patti.  Both of their arms were covered in bandages.  Half of Christi’s face was a crusty brown.  They were both doped up on pain medication.

It kills me to know they had to go through that.

I rented The Spitfire Grill and I discovered another favorite movie.  It was so beautiful and simple and redeeming.  I watched it twice in a row.

Marcus and I are going to see The Lost World tomorrow.  I hope is scares me.

I go back to Banner Elk on Saturday.

One last summer.

One last year.

May it go slowly Lord.

May 17, 1997 – Saturday – 10:08 p.m.

Today…

Today…

Today was the annual nationwide March For Jesus.  This was my first one that I’ve ever attended.  I had a wonderful time singing praises with fellow Christians as we walked the streets of Sanford.  I saw Gary there.  We talked a little and he told me that there was a big party at Kiwanis Park for Matt, Christi’s brother, who had just graduated from Catawba College in Salisbury, NC.  He said that both Matt and Jason were in town.  So, after the March was over I asked mom if we could stop by to see if they were there and say “hey.”  We did.

A car was in the driveway with the trunk open.  The front door was standing wide open.  We pulled up and I got out of the car and Jason runs out of the house.  His hands were waving around and he wasn’t really looking at us.  Frantically, he said, “Oh geez, oh geez, oh God, oh my God.  Mom and Christi and Andy and his girlfriend just got in a car accident.  They are three hours away from here.  And they’re burned!

It took a second for it to register, but then it all made sense when he just plopped down on the steps and cried.  He was in the middle of changing tires on the car out front because he and Matt were going on a fishing trip on the coast.  So, Clay took Jason to find his dad and Matt at the bank downtown.  Mom and I stayed there and prayed.

A few minutes later, Matt pulled up with Pastor Steve’s wife Nancy.  She said she found him walking on the side of the road because their car broke down at the bank.  We told Matt what happened and he went nuts.  Except he said Andy was in Wilmington and Christi and her mom were going to the mountains and Andy doesn’t even have a girlfriend.  Jason’s muttering made no sense.

Hours of confusion took place.  Phone calls were made.  Hank finally made it home and the emotions went wild because no one knew what was going on.

This is what actually happened:

Christi and her mom Patti and Christi’s boyfriend Adam were going to western North Carolina to say goodbye to Christi’s old gym coach.  Patti was taking off Christi’s shoes while Christi was driving, yet at the same time, they were looking at a pretty mountain.  A bump is felt and Christi shouts out an “oops” as she swerves back to the road.  Yet, the beginning of a guard rail is right in front of her and it catches the gas tank near the rear of the car.  It rips it off and flips the car at the same time.  They head straight into the other lane, thankfully there wasn’t any oncoming traffic.  They come to a stop on the other side of the road and the car bursts into flames.  The three shocked passengers crawl out of the car.

Jason got off the phone with the hospital 30 seconds before we drove up.  Matt, Hank, Gary, and Adam’s mom drove up to the mountains to be with them.  I stayed with Jason until my parents picked me up for a church service at 5:30 p.m.

Christi was burned the worst of all three, but nobody should be left with permanent scars.

And that was today.

Today…

No doubt Christi and Adam’s relationship will grow stronger through this shared drama. They’re love is as good as forever.

It’s a week before I go back to the mountains.  I will so go to my perfect world of Banner Elk.  Yet here, the people of my days before LMC are either pregnant, nicotine addicts, or burned.

And I will leave them that way, knowing my prayers and never ending love will be with them.

I am a little blonde-haired boy, lying in my bed on a school day, only I’m too young to attend.  “Why can’t I go, mommy?”

“You have to wait another year until you’re old enough,” she says.

She should have said, “Oh sweetie, don’t rush things.  Enjoy these careless days while they are around.  Soon your closest friends will be in pain and there won’t be any answers to the flames life brings.  Please, stay a child while you can be a child.”

February 27, 1997 – Thursday – 10:00 a.m.

Today is Curtis’ 21st birthday!

On Tuesday, Jessica and I went for a long hike to the top of a nearby mountain.  We had a good time.  She’s so delightful to spend time with and has such a bright future ahead of her.

Last night, or rather all of yesterday, Abigail…well she…she has become a very dear friend.  We continue to grow closer.  Last night Jeni and she and I prayed again together.  Abigail rested her head on my knee and ran her thumb up and down my fingers as she held my hand.

She has me.

I wonder if she knows it.

Four years ago, I was questioning love.  Veronica was on my mind.  And in reality, I had no idea.

Four years.

Veronica, Ryan, Christi, Jenna, Tenielle, Jeni, Emily, Syndi, Laura, Abigail…

These are the girls who have taught me the most.

Not only have I touched her face, but she tells me that I have touched her heart.  She is not another Ryan or Christi, she is simply my Abigail.  This list will continue to grow and no name will ever disappear.  I want our goodbye to be painful.  I want this to hurt.  I need this to hurt.

I need to share my heart.

January 1, 1997 – Wednesday – 11:39 p.m.

Since I slept through Christ’s party last night, I went to Christ’s tonight.  She answered the door and hugged me.  She looked older.  Last night was her birthday.  She turned 19.  I remember when she was 11.  Christi’s RA from college was there, as was Nicole and two other friends named David and Jack.  We all played cards.  I laughed my head off; they are the funniest people.  It was a very memorable night, but I’m a bit concerned about the spiritual condition of the family.  Things feel a little off.  Take care of them Lord, please.

Well, this year’s first day is over.  It was a great one.  Tomorrow is ten minutes away, and I claim it will be an even better one in the name of Jesus!