December 27, 1997 – Saturday – 5:16 p.m.

I am in Mount Vernon Springs and it is snowing.  I pray to God that I don’t get stuck here like I did two years ago.

Christmas of ’97 has been redeemed.  Christmas Eve was wonderful because I talked to Sarah, Christmas Day was the worst ever, but the day after Christmas was amazing.

My mom’s family are wonderful, they are full of love and full of God.  We ate, we sang, we celebrated the birth of our Savior.  We had Christmas and no one complained.  No one was bitter and my extended family was a huge blessing, especially my little cousins.

We drove to Regent University today and saw the campus.  It is flat there, but it is beautiful and the buildings are epic.  I felt good about it.  I felt at peace.  I maybe even felt at home.

On the day after Christmas, I went for a walk to the reservoir that evening.  It was very dark, but a billion stars were above me.  I prayed, worshiped and sang to God.  He is wonderful.  I prayed for my Sarah.  It seems I pray constantly for her.  I plan to call her later tonight and hope to see her on Monday after I go to the dentist.

Please God.

Until next time…

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December 25, 1997 – Thursday – 6:00 p.m.

It is Christmas, but then again it always has been.  Right now though, it feels nothing like Christmas, for I am no where near anyone I truly love.  The only good thing that has happened was talking to Sarah for over an hour last night.  We had a wonderful conversation.  I love her more and more each day.

But now I am in Richmond, VA.  I was at my dad’s parents house earlier, but nothing happened.  We finally opened presents around 3:30 p.m., but all I got was money.  I have become a stranger to everyone here.  They don’t know me.  If I have my way, and I don’t see why I can’t, I’ll never spend another Christmas here again.

But my mom’s side is different.  There is love in that house, but only bitterness and complaining in these places on my dad’s side.  I never want to come here again.

Forgive me God, but I just want to spend Christmas from here on with people who know and love you.

To spend it with Sarah.

Our talk last night was so wonderful.  She sees everything in the world with such beauty. I long to see life from here on in her eyes.  She is the most amazing and beautiful creature I have ever come across.  She puts all others to shame.

I love her.

I love her.

I love you Sarah.  Bring us close together God, and use us for your will.

Well, Merry Christmas everyone.  I hope you are around someone you love.  I am going home on Saturday and I will see Sarah again soon.  But even now, I feel near to her.

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.

December 19, 1997 – Friday – 2:00 p.m.

I took the GRE yesterday morning.  It went okay.  Mom and I talked a lot on the way home.  The Neals are getting divorced.  Sad, sad story.

Last night I called up Mike.  He’s doing well.  He said he might call me today.  And then, realizing it’s been two years since I have seen or talked to Jonathan, I decided to call his old house to see if his dad knew where he was.  And guess what…Jonathan was there.

He drove over to visit.  His hair was green and he had two tongue rings and a nose ring.  He hasn’t grown and he looks like he’s only changed for the worse.  He looked scared and worried and stressed.

I hugged my lost friend and everything became okay.  He is still alive.  Thank God for that.

Danny flies in from California today.  Marcus and Peter came over last night.  Marcus said that more than half of our graduating class has a kid now.  Most dropped out of college.  Some are already divorced.

Kevin says he’s moving to Texas to transfer to a school there.  He will transfer in as a sophomore after five years at Methodist College in Fayetteville.  He turns 23 in less than a month and he is only going to be a sophomore.  I’m 21 and just took the GRE for graduate school.  I just don’t understand what my brother has been doing.

Nate has begun shaving at 12.  He will be hairy like Henry.

I called Sarah today.  She was baking cookies and listening to Christmas music.    She says that she misses me and its only been one day.  That is good.  I will call her again on Monday and we will go see Titanic.  Hmm.  Sarah actually looks a little bit like Kate Winslet.

 

December 17, 1997 – Wednesday – 8:30 p.m.

Nearly a week until Christmas and this is the final evening of my seventh semester at Lees-McRae college.  The fall semester of 1997 is almost over.

I spent some time last night with Abigail.  I told her the whole Sarah story and she shared some more with me about K.C.  She thanked me for sharing stuff like that with her.  What a good friend I have in her.  Thank you God for healing us.

And most of this afternoon and evening was spent with Sarah.  After she packed I held her in her bed.  She fell asleep, but I just kept watching her, touching her face and neck as she slept and made little snoring noises.

She is so beautiful.

She left this evening.  Just now, before I started writing, as a matter of fact.  We plan to see each other over the holidays.  I can’t wait!

This has been an amazing semester.  There were many great and favorite moments:

– Laughing with Dan and Sherlive about the blue hole thing

– Midnight bowling in Savannah and scoring a 224.

– The “Stand in the Gap” trip.

– Cantering with Bay Lady.

– A mute Abigail asking me to touch her face.

– Seeing “Masks” resurrected.

– Every minute of the Hilton Head Island trip

– November 22, 1997 and nearly every second since then when I was close to Sarah.

– And I can’t forget to mention, although I don’t think I ever wrote about it here in my journal, the time I held Sarah under a rainbow.

What a blessed semester this has been.  And I even had my own real Christmas tree!  I got to travel, direct and choreograph, act in a leading role again, and meet Sarah.

I have so much to love, so much to cherish, and it all comes back to Jesus.

Jesus, I love you so much.  Thank you for all you have given me.  You are my life.  You are my all.

Oh vast pursuing lover come.

December 15, 1997 – Monday – 10:30 p.m.

Yesterday morning’s church service was awesome, then I sang at Juries that afternoon.  The RA Christmas party was that evening and after that we went to more juries.  Sarah was in four of them.  But despite all of yesterday’s business, Sarah and Jessi and I found the time to watch It’s Only a Paper Moon.

And last night, after the midnight breakfast exam break, and after I made my Christmas tree lights blink, and after Dan and I played Tetris 2, and after Vince and Alex wrestled in my room, I called my Sarah.  We talked for a while; we talked about us.

I told her that I pray to God about us and ask him what this is.  And every answer he ever gives me is through Sarah.  She said once that loving me was not part of the plan.  And I told her that God tells me to simply let our relationship be what it is and to not worry about anything else.

We both know I’m leaving and comfort is found in that.  I doubt I’ll spend the rest of my life with Sarah, but thanks to God, I’m pretty sure I’ll spend a lot of the next five months with her.

Perhaps I have lived life too carefully.  Perhaps I’ve guarded my heart too much.  Sarah is too amazing of a girl to simply pass up.  I do not want to be an old man, and right before I die, realize that I have not lived.

How frail we are.

So Sarah is my girl.  I love her.  I love her as much as my time will allow me.  We’ve only been close for three weeks, and, as we all know, love takes time.

Perhaps we should have left everything alone in that perfect first Eternal Instant on November 22nd, but why have one Eternal Instant when you can have hundreds.

I’m so young.

And Sarah is eighteen.

I just read back on my freshman year recently, and I didn’t know anything back then, but through Jeni and many others, I learned.

I first wrote Sarah’s name down in these Books of Days on June 14, 1997.  I had no idea then that I would repeat that name on these pages, in my heart, and on my lips for the rest of my life.  But it’s clear to me that she has arrived into my life and her influence will fade away.

December 13, 1997 – Saturday – 3:00 p.m.

I copied the poem I wrote here in my journal yesterday down and gave it to Sarah.  She said it was the most romantic thing anyone has ever given her.

She is wonderful and beautiful.

Us guys had our Christmas together the other night.  They bought me a cool toilet seat and a CD tower.  It was a fun time.  They are the truest of friends.

In the spring show, Emily, who was in my scene for Directing class, was cast in the role of Candy.  Her character and my character have a pretty intimate make-out scene while we are both on the stage in nothing but our underwear.  So…this should be interesting.

I go to Asheville on Thursday to take the GRE; I’ll head home after that.  I plan to spend about three days in Virginia and hopefully visit Regent University while I’m there.

I hope to work at McDonald’s to make a little money, see Sarah a couple of times, then come back on the 11th of January.  Hopefully Kevin and Marcus and I will spend some quality time together this Christmas.

Sarah came over last night to study.  I have no exams, so I just tickled her back while she worked.  We took a study break and went to the Presbyterian Church’s spaghetti dinner.  While there we talked and laughed with Mindy and a few others about old TV shows.  It was a memorable time.  After we returned to my room, Sarah slowly fell asleep on her books.  I just watched her.

To be honest, I don’t think she knows what to do with me.  I’m probably too nice or too good to her.  I don’t get the feeling any boyfriend she had in high school was a proper gentleman.

Well, that’s good, right?  She deserves as much.

I have someone to love, to give myself to, and it’s awesome!