August 16 – 1997 – Saturday – 1:27 a.m.

The RD staff plus Allen and Vince went to Carowinds today.  I had fun.  It was great to be outside all day.  When I got home there was a letter under my door from Maresa.  It just said that she wanted me to call her when I got back cause she wanted to talk with me and pray with me about something.  I called her and she came over.  We laid in my bed and talked about God for a long time.  And tonight, or this morning rather, she rededicated her life back to God and eagerly asked many questions about heaven and Jesus.  We had a great talk.  I praise God for that beautiful 15-year-old red-head!  She made this summer twice as fun.

Wednesday night after church, Allen, Vince and I had our small group and prayed.  We talked about the Holy Spirit and Allen said he wanted to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  I prayed for him briefly.  Then he started praying in the spirit.  He fell to the ground, cried, then jumped around and everything.

God is amazing.

It’s great to be alive.

August 10, 1997 – Sunday – 4:05 p.m.

Marisa turns 15 today.  I turn 21 in a week.

Dan has gone home.  The place feels empty.  This next week I will move to McAlister; I’ll have a smaller apartment with one less room than this one.

It just started to rain.

For the next hour and a half, I’ll exist quietly in these three rooms.  I will listen to slow and soothing music, and I will read and write.  At 5:30 p.m. I will go back to the box office to sell tickets and I’ll enjoy the show again tonight.

Jeanine will sleep in here tonight since her mom is visiting and will take her bed.

RD training begins on Monday and I will also check everyone out of Tennessee Dorm between Monday and Wednesday.

Children of Eden ends tomorrow.  Lindy and I began with three full ticket racks and now we are nearly empty.  Everyone has loved this show.

My final year of college is so close.  How different it will be.  My rounds will now include seven buildings instead of just two hallways.  I will tackle directing and horseback riding.

So my simple and relaxing summer will soon end and I will never live in these walls again.  What have these walls seen?  Jeni and I kissing.  Dan and I wondering.  Charlie crying over Kate.  And me watching Sherlive as she slept.

The summer of 1997.

Nothing ever stays the same.

Charlie and I went to see Conspiracy Theory last night.  I enjoyed it.  I helped Charlie in Junior Worship this morning and ate with Tracey and her family plus Lindy and Ann-Marie at the Banner Elk Cafe.

It’s difficult for me to remember who I was before Lees-McRae.  I almost feel like my senior year will be the last year of my life.  Leaving this place seems close to death.

But surely there are no real goodbyes among Christians.

It’s 4:45 p.m.

Am I still living in my youth?  Or are those days gone?

4:47 p.m.

And so…well…

Weird, huh?

 

August 7, 1997 – Thursday – 8:30 a.m.

Good morning.

Charlie, Dan, and Allen made large cross that stands on a rock down Elk River.  We went there Tuesday night, sang praises, and prayed to God.

I talked to Allen about the Jeanine thing.  He has tried to bury every sexual desire he’s ever had.  He won’t even look at girls.  He should just let go, and praise God that he is a sexual being with a healthy sex drive.  It’s how God made us.  Instead these buried desires erupt in unhealthy ways.  He admits that he just gets stupid when he is around her.

It got my haircut yesterday morning.  I like it.  I went to a new place in Newland and they gave me a head massage as well.  It was awesome.

Church was fun last night, but I got a little sick during worship.  Sherlive showed up a little late, it was so good to see her.  We talked after church.  I got a smiley face pencil while at Chrysalis and she often wears a smiley face necklace.  I gave her the pencil and she had the coolest smile on her face.  She really seemed to like it.  She said it was spiffy.  We played the piano together and talked some about music.  I asked her if she would like to see Children of Eden with me on Friday.  Hopefully she can.  She has to talk to her parents about it.  I told her I would call her on Friday.  We said our goodbyes and she hoped to got to feeling better.

I did.

Then that night, Dan and I put on some Jewel and talked deeply about life and God.  How long was God there before he created us?  Who made God?  Why is all of this what it is?

We talked of everything…of forbidden fruit, fallen angels, the Ten Commandments, a son who died for our sins, Saul turning to Paul, my love for stories, and how God is an amazing story teller, who includes all of us in the perfect plot of redemption and salvation.

It’s so great having Dan stay with me this month.  He’s the truest of friends.

 

August 3, 1997 – Sunday – 11:30 p.m.

I sit in Rachel’s house in Sterling, VA.  Chrysalis is over.

P.C. was my roommate for the weekend and he kinda reminded me of Vince.  A wonderful person with a wonderful life ahead of him.  He has a problem with his left arm.  A part of his upper bone is hollow and he has gone through several surgeries to fix it and has a huge scar because of it.  They’ve had to take bone out of his leg to try and fix it and because of this he can’t join the Navy like he’s always wanted to.  This was a hard time for him in his life, but he met a girl on the Internet named Lisa.  They began to email each other.  Then they wrote to each other.  Then they called each other.  And then they visited each other.  She’s in Iowa and he’s in Virginia.  They are now boyfriend and girlfriend and they will start school together out in Boulder, Colorado.  They’ll be freshman together.  After he showed me her picture, I was amazed.  She was so beautiful.  I didn’t know girls that pretty talked on computers.

Sean, always seated in a wheelchair, was never seen without a smile on his face.  Kay is soon to donate a kidney to her brother.  Colleen, a beautiful 25-year-old, who lost her little brother to a rare disease when she was 15.  Then she bore her own son as teenager, but then the father left them both.  She said the death of her brother tore her from God, but the eyes of her baby brought her back to him.

After hearing her talk of her brother, I wrote her a poem:

I said hello

I say goodbye

I saw you live

And now you die

But death is life

And life is love

Love is God

Eternal from above

So I’ll see you soon

There’s no need to cry

I too am changing

And to you I’ll fly

I found out later that the poem made her cry.  When I said goodbye to her today, she hugged me so tight.  Her lips said nothing, but her eyes shouted a desperate “thank you.”

And there was Vanny, who tried to commit suicide twice before, but now only smiles as bright as the sun.

And that was just a few.  There were so many stories full of death and tragedy.  But I don’t have those stories.  My tragedies are Bs on papers and mixed emotions.  I still have my family, my virginity, my sanity, my life, my legs, my health.

But there is one tragic story in my life.  I discovered this weekend that I am capable of so much more love.  I’ve been keeping it inside and only sharing it with a select few.  Now it’s time to give it to the world.

I spoke up at the gathering and told the group that each one of them was beautiful and I thanked God for allowing me to add their eyes and names to my collection.  Some came to me and said I seemed very Christlike.  They said they saw Jesus in me.  If so, then perhaps I am beginning to live a Christian life.

Rachel told me that others told her I seemed very creative.  People are so good to me.  God is so good to me.  So, here I am God.  I’m ready.  I don’t know everything, but I know you.

Here I am.

I’ve shown up.

 

August 3, 1997 – Sunday – 7:30 a.m.

A Sunday morning.  I am on a deck in Maryland overlooking Maryland, Virginia, and parts of Pennsylvania.  The sun is peaking over a long narrow cloud; shining on me like a spotlight.  Saturday has passed.  An amazing day.  We talked.  We learned.  We sang.  We loved.  And even today, we still love.

There was a talent show.  Our skit won the “Most Uplifting Award.”  Our award was a bra, so funny.  There was also a beauty contest.  My group dressed me up as a girl and I won that too.

God brought me up here to show me his love and to teach me how to love my family and friends.  I thought of Jonathan and how he isn’t able to go back to college.  He sure could use a bag of letters like I received yesterday.

Everyone is up and around on this deck now.  Time to live in the love of others.

August 1, 1997 – Friday – 11:45 p.m.

The month of change has begun on the right foot.  I am in Maryland at Chrysalis.  Rachel is here.  I have a roommate named P.C.; we talked forever last night.  The drive up here was fun, Rachel had a friend of hers drive me up most of the way.  The Virginia Blue Ridge mountains were so beautiful.

On Wednesday night Sherlive came to church and afterwards we went to see Air Force One.  We had a good time.  I hope I can see her again soon.  I told P.C. about her.

But the most amazing thing was that today each caterpillar (that’s what they call us here at Chrysalis) received a bag full of letters.  They were letters from people I didn’t know, they were just general supporters of Chrysalis, but there were also letters from even dear people I do know.  I have a letter from Rachel, Ellen, Tracey, Lindy, Paul, my mom and dad, Nate, Sharon, Jeni, and Marisa.

Love is all around me.  People are so nice here.  I only pray that I can be as nice.

Jeni said in her letter that if my movies and stories in anyway reflect what is in my heart, then I would be in my success.  God loves me so much.  I just praise and love and thank him.  The weekend is so amazing so far, but it’s just getting started.  Words cannot express how happy I feel.  Is this what heaven will be like?

July 30, 1997 – Wednesday – 12:20 p.m.

Last night after I wrote in my journal, almost everyone from Tennessee Dorm, plus Charlie and Allen, went to Macado’s.  Charlie, Allen, Jeanine and I sat at a table together and had some good laughs.

I leave for Chrysalis in the morning.  I have no idea what this thing is, but I guess I will by Monday.  I’ve heard of people going on these retreats and Rachel always talks about it, so I guess I just have to see for myself.

I want to grow close to Sherlive.  She has totally captured my thoughts.  How crazy that a girl can just show up out of the blue.  I want God to be the center of our relationship.  I want us to bring people to the Lord together.  The world needs Jesus and I like the Jesus that I’ve met in her as well as the Jesus that is in me.