July 5, 1998 – Sunday – 9:38 p.m.

I went to Parkway Temple this morning.  I felt so welcome!  One woman came straight up to me and told me I had the most beautiful eyes in the world.  Afterwards I went out to lunch with David and two other members of the youth group.

That afternoon I spoke with Emily and Lindy over the phone.  Then I went to the Founder’s Inn on campus and stood in line for 40 minutes to see Mark Lowry in concert.  I stood in line and sat with three beautiful women: one mother, one daughter, and one aunt.  The mom went to Parkway Temple.

Mark Lowry was hilarious.  I saw him many years ago with my mom in Asheboro.  I also got a free ticket to see him on the 700 Club tomorrow morning.  How cool is that!

I feel like God is showing me so much and it’s making him so happy!  Loving God and enjoying everything he has made is the only way to be alive!  He has truly given me an abundant life!

Advertisements

July 4, 1998 – Saturday – 11:59 p.m.

I am now in a beautiful country home on the outskirts of Colerain, NC; a place I’ve never been to before.

I went to the youth service with David at Parkway Temple on Friday night.  It was so awesome.  I’ve never seen kids praise the Lord like that before.  I was around an entire new set of people, but I felt so at home.

After the service I went over to Justin’s house where he and all of his camp friends were getting together.  I spent another two hours with people I’ve never met before.

The past few days have just been new people after new people!  America is just filled with wonderful people everywhere I look.

Then, this morning, I left with David, Mary Jo, and Mark and we drove down to Mary Jo’s house here in Colerain, NC, 15 miles east of Ahoskie for the 4th of July.  All three of them are Divinity students at Regent, and we spent most of the day on the shore of the Chowan River that runs nearby.

Mary Jo’s parents are hilarious, especially her dad.  They are so hospitable and they fed us like crazy!  Three other friends of hers came over, Kelly and Chad from Greenville, NC and Coleen, another girl from Regent.

We swam in the river, enjoyed the beautiful scenery, but the fireworks were cancelled that evening due to strong winds.  Instead, we just sat on the swings and talked.  We spent hours and hours there; the conversation just flowed.  The warm wind blew all over us.  Coleen is so unique and beautiful.  It was just the most perfect 4th of July I could have had.  Talking and sharing with new souls who seem so eager to know you is one of life’s greatest gifts!

Now it’s time for a peaceful sleep.

July 1, 1998 – Wednesday – 11:00 p.m.

Today was a good day.  I spent the day looking for a job, so there’s a good chance I may work at a Christian bookstore in the area.  One of those could be the campus bookstore.  While there I met a guy named David, who used to be a missionary in South Africa.  We talked for a while and even hung out in his apartment for a bit.  His roommate’s name is Hunter.  They came over here later and seem to be really cool guys.

Our phones began working today, but I can only call out, no one is able to call in yet.

I called Sarah.  We seem to be living our separate lives, but still loving each other.  It’s nice.

I’ve been invited to a birthday party tomorrow at David’s church, and he says they need a drama director.  Perhaps that will be me.  Thank you God.

June 3, 1998 – Wednesday – 10:00 p.m.

I just got back from church.  You know, I’m really beginning to miss Lees-McRae.  It can never again be like it was.  Vince, Dan, Allen, Curtis, Charlie, Justin, Josh, etc.; I don’t think I’ve ever had better friends.  Lindy, Tracey, Jeni, Abigail, Ann-Marie, Jessica, Ashley, Ellen, Jessi, Sherlive; I don’t think I’ve ever known sweeter girls.

Except for Sarah, of course.

And I know the God who designed their souls, who drew out the patterns in their eyes, who knew those very eyes would one day shoot daggers through my own soul.

A week from tomorrow I will be leaving to visit them all again with Lindy.

I feel Sarah has changed since she has returned home and taken her job at YMCA.  She seems more mature.  I like it.  I think about her constantly.  I want her forever; to grow old with her.  To simply experience everything by her side.

I will soon go a long time without seeing her, but I will never go a long time without loving her.

I’ve been thinking and I believe that my life has stages.  God plans on using me in different places, different areas, and in each area, in each place, he just wants to watch me interact with and love the other people he has made.  He wants me to experience his creation.  He made me to show me off, and he made others to show them off.

But each stage will eventually come to an end, and the love between us will be all that will live on.

Nothing truly dies.

The Emmanuel Players skit group was a time.

Chatham Central High School was a time.

Lees-McRae College was a time.

Heaton Christian Church was a time.

South Africa will be a time.

Regent University will be a time.

And possibly, some day, I will satisfy these desires in me to make movies, to make theater, to write, and I will move on to what’s next.

It’s funny though, because through all of these stages, I feel they came to a peak when God showed me Sarah.  Or perhaps it feels that way because I’m currently in this moment.  Perhaps she is just here to aid in the transition to the next stage.

If I never see Sarah again after South Africa, all will still be well for the rest of my life, for I know I at least had seven great months by her side.

And even an hour is way more than I deserve.

January 5, 1998 – Monday – 10:00 p.m.

She has brought me.

But the question is, will she let me bring her?

Love keeps no records of wrongs, so I will not go into detail.

I went to see her after church yesterday.  We hung out with her brother and her friends and I had a really nice time.  Her friends are so talented and so much fun.  They seem to have accepted me, I enjoy being around them, and one girl really liked me and said I was good for Sarah.  I wonder what Sarah thinks about that.  We went over to an older woman’s house and ate homemade pizza.  It was so yummy!  Two more of her friends showed up.  All of her friends are high school seniors.  Some are still 16-years-old.  They are so young, but they’ve grown up in the city and seem to know things I don’t know and really have no business knowing.

When Sarah and I finally had some time alone, I shared with her what happened Friday night at the Bible study.  I wanted to talk with her about our relationships with the Lord, but she was silent.

I am going to grow and I want Sarah to grow with me.  But I’m learning nevertheless, for love never fails.

September 22, 1997 – Monday – 7:30 p.m.

Church was great this weekend.  We had an awesome meal on Sunday night.  After church, about 12 people came over to my room.  Justin and Paul played guitar and we had a praise and worship session.  Ann-Marie, Abigail and Tracey were there as well.

Marisa called last night, as did Jeni.  Jeni was sad because Rich Mullins died in a car accident.  She’s coming down on Thursday to see Sounds Across America.

My uncle Jim from California is working in Boone.  He’s going to take me out to eat tomorrow night.

I leave for Kentucky Friday morning.  I’ll spend the weekend there in Louisville.  I’ve never been there before.

Horsemanship was so awesome today.  I rode so fast.  It’s getting darker earlier, the leaves are changing, the air is cool, and my time on that horse every week is simply magical.

September 14, 1997 – Sunday – 1:00 p.m.

A Sunday afternoon.  Amy Grant is playing on my new stereo.  It is a warm day.  God is at work as usual.  Eddie and Natalie, two Performing Arts students, whom I thought were beyond reach, are now coming to church on a regular basis.  Two new Freshmen named Justin and Sarah have started coming as well.

A girl accepted the Lord and was baptized this morning in the river behind the church.  I watched the baptism with little Hannah.  She’s the sweetest little friend.  Jessica stood nearby.  She stood beautifully in her hiking boots and autumn outfit, her dark hair swirling down her back like million roller coasters.  She stood just high enough to peer over the chicken-wire fence, which protected the children from falling down the bluff to the river below.  And Shawna was with us today.  She showed us pictures of her backyard in New Mexico.  Amazing!

I think things are getting back to normal for Abigail and I.  At least I hope so.

I went to visit Tracey the other night.  She was in her bathrobe getting ready for bed.  We talked a little and she said that she didn’t see me around as much any more.

“Well,” I said, “That’s why I came down to see you.”

So weird to see her in that room without Jeni.

I called Jeni on her 21st birthday.  She said is was great to hear my voice.  She told me that Tracey, Ann-Marie, and Abigail all thought Sherlive and I were dating.  I told her that I did want that at one time, but instead Sherlive is my dear friend, who really seems to understand the way I see the world, and that in and of itself is a treasure.

Emily and I haven’t written or communicated since that time we shared the same time and place under the boardwalk in May.

Marisa and I still write though.  We also email each other.  I wonder if email will take over and keep people from writing handwritten letters.  I hope not.  Emily’s letters wouldn’t have changed my life if they were just typed letters on a screen.  I saw love in her handwriting.  Marisa and I actually just got off the phone.  We laughed back and forth.  She is so funny.  She says she’s coming up in three weeks.  I told her so many little details about my life recently.  Things I haven’t even shared with the guys.  I do miss her so much.  It’s so weird how this rebellious little 15-year-old brat turned out to be the sweetest girl in the world to me.  I told her when she arrived that I would hug her and never let go.

She screamed “Yes!”

A bunch of performing arts students are saying that Lindy and I would make a cute couple, but I’m actually starting to wonder if Lees-McRae holds the one for me.  It feels as though Lees-McRae is simply preparing me for the one God has for me.  But, to be fair, I guess everything that happens in my life from this point on will have happened because of Lees-McRae.

I miss Jonathan.  I miss Marcus, Danny, and Peter.  I miss Ryan, Amy, Christi, Cheryl, Jenna, and Tenielle.  I miss Veronica, her family and all the families from Sanford.  I miss my family, Nate, Mom, Henry, and Kevin.  I miss Alison’s smiles and Renee’s eyes.  I miss Mike’s laughter and Wynne, Grant, and Mark.  I miss Tim.  I miss Syndi.  I miss Pastor Steve and Shurby and Jason.  I miss my old room on the 2nd floor of McAlister.  I miss the railroad tracks.  I miss Tony and Lisa, Dana and Bradley, Lisa and Kenny.  I miss Kristin and Fishnet and Deep Creek.  I miss the shoes I can no longer wear, the pants I’ve grown out of, and the trees that have fallen down.  I miss Andrea.  I miss West Germany.  I miss that hospital in Columbus, Ohio.  I miss the comfort of my mother’s womb.

I miss touching Abigail’s face.  I miss Jeni’s lips.  I miss the stars above Tracey’s house.  I miss Ann-Marie’s laugh.  I miss Ben’s grin.  I miss Vince’s Jim Carrey quotes.  I miss Curtis singing country songs in his car.  I miss Allen’s farts.  I miss Sharon driving “our” truck.  I miss Jessica hiking beside me in the woods.  I miss Charlie and Kate together.

I miss Lees-McRae College.

I even miss Regent University and it is in the future.

I miss my wife.

I miss my children.

I miss my dead parents, now in heaven.

I miss earth.  I miss life.

But I’m here now and I’m thankful.

This side of heaven is simply me missing everything that I won’t have time to miss, when I’m face to face with Jesus.