April 10, 2001 – Tuesday – 4:00 p.m.

I just got off the phone with Lindy, easily one of the best friends I’ll ever have. I feel like my insides are going to explode. Everything is coming to the most amazing ending, and an entire universe is beginning.

The week of the wedding is going to be full of complete emotional ecstasy. There is much history and so many stories that will collide together for the moment Anna and I join our lives together. I will pick Vince up from the Miami airport, then we will drive up the coast for four hours after not seeing each other for over a year. Nearly all of Lees-McRae and Banner Elk, NC is dying to see him, and he will be there in when they all arrive on Thursday for the wedding on Saturday. Over 15 Lees-McRae friends are making the 11 hour trip south. Marcus is coming, as well as Danny and Peter, they are all bringing friends along.

Abigail is going to sing. Tracey is going to play piano. Vince, Lindy, and Dan will be standing next to me. I’ll share the weekend with all my friends, then drive away with Anna.

Anna just showed up. Gotta go!

September 3, 2000 – Sunday – 3:16 p.m.

Yesterday’s wedding was very beautiful and extremely centered on Christ. It was an absolutely perfect day that cannot be summarized in words.

I did get to see Jeni though. She is seven months pregnant.

So now I sit in Dan and Abigail’s new home as I listen to the Seven Stranger’s first CD, By Duck Tape and Faith. Seven Stranger’s is the band formed by Tracey, Abigail, Paul, and a few others.

My time in Banner Elk has come and gone. I grow more thankful of that fact every time I visit. I’m glad God moved me on beyond this place. If I lingered here too long, I’d just get stuck.

This place simply isn’t for me anymore. But it does bless my soul to come back. I pray the same thing happens to Virginia Beach.

I went to Heaton Christian Church this morning. It was wonderful, but I went on my own, without any friends. Curtis and Megan have already left for Atlanta.

Sarah and I never went for our second walk. Instead all the guys built a bonfire, but we got rained on.

Now my whole life is ahead of me. I don’t think I want to get married for quite a while. I often wonder if God designed me to go it alone.

So, send me out God. Thank you for a weekend of renewal.

September 1, 2000 – Friday – 4:00 p.m.

I left after work last night and arrived here just before midnight.  So, ‘August and everything after’ actually begins here in Banner Elk.  Perfect.

Curtis and Megan and I stayed here in Dan’s new place.  I’m here now, just chillin’ and listening to Caedmon’s Call.

Mason and Marisa are back up here for school.  I went to visit Mason after Dan, Curtis, Allen and I went to Johnson City, TN to pick up our Tuxedos.  It was a fun little trip down the mountain.  I do love my friends.

While in Mason’s room I called Sarah, yes my old Sarah.  She came over and we found the time to go for a walk before she had to be in Highlanders.

The things we both said were beautiful.  She apologized.  I apologized.  We talked about rainbows.  I felt my heart beating loudly inside me.  I haven’t felt that in a very long time.  My eyes never left her as she performed during Highlanders.  Oh God, don’t let me get too weird while I’m here for this wedding.  You are changing Sarah, and I don’t want to get in the way.

The morning was spent with Dan’s family in a cottage near a place where I used to walk. I feel reborn.  I feel different.  I feel changed.  Thank you Jesus for this new beginning and may we do it again tomorrow.

Be with Sarah.  If it is your will, allow us to go for another walk again tonight.

Thank you for this weekend Jesus.  I love your forgiveness and salvation.

August 25, 2000 – Friday – 12:45 p.m.

Four months until Christmas!

I’m at a baseball field near the park that’s closest to my job.  I’m looking forward to the Counting Crows concert in Virginia Beach tonight.

I talked to both Curtis and Dan last night and I finally began writing out the plot for a feature screenplay I’m calling Winter Dreams.

In one week I’ll be in Banner Elk again.  Dan says I can stay at his new place, even while he and Abigail are on their honeymoon.

I often think about my friends being married.

Curtis, Allen, Charlie, Dan.  They all got married this year.  Vince and I remain, but he’s content in Bolivia.

I am… I don’t know how I am these days.

What is it that I do?

I’m supposed to be making movies, but am I doing that?

No.  I’m supposed to be worshipping God, but am I doing that?

I’m just sitting on bleachers feeling sorry for myself.  I haven’t sat on bleachers since Marie spoke the worst words over me I’ve ever heard.  I’m glad that relationship is over.  In retrospect it feels so unreal, fake, and empty.

Why does love die?  Does that mean it was never love?

I guess so.

So I’ve never really loved?  Is that it?

Then why does it feel like I have?  Perhaps it is just because God is in me.

I love my friends.  They are scattered all over the world now.

So, Everything after August is coming to be.  Another beautiful autumn.

Noisy bugs surround me now.  I guess I’m doing okay, for not everyone notices the music of crickets.  So, I’ll get up from here and walk on.  I deserve nothing I’m given, and I’ll do my best to breathe freely.

August 12, 2000 – Saturday – 7:00 p.m.

I have five days left to be 23.  Dan and Abigail marry each other in three weeks.  I met with the ministers of Forefront, and they want to work with me concerning Dang! and perhaps other future projects.  After returning from a men’s prayer breakfast with Forefront folks, I finished reading The Hobbit this morning.  I saw Kimberly today at her bookstore.  She recently got a haircut and looked beautiful.

I look at the map on my mall and all the pins placed in it representing all the places I’ve been.  Are all the pins there God?  Did I miss out on anything He wanted to show me?  I feel as though I miss whatever I didn’t experience, or didn’t take the time to notice.

I love you Jesus.  Thank you for this time in my life.  Sometime the thought of Marie not wanting to be my friend comes back to me, and it hurts my heart so.

How joyful it is when I get a phone call from someone who wants to talk to me.  All my friends are married, and now I fear my calls turns into interruptions.

Jesus, your love is all I own.  I see that now.  Friends, family, passions,…they all fade away.

You are my final destination.

You are my process.

You are my end and my beginning.

I found my creator.

August 4, 2000 – Friday – 11:45 a.m.

I’m sitting on a slanted picnic table in a park near the Library and Community Center of Sterling, Virginia.  I left at 7:30 this morning to drive up here, because someone associated with a sister company of Acoustic Works is going to train me on Dreamweaver.

My meeting isn’t until 1:00 p.m., but I left early just to spend some time alone in a new town.  Three kids are playing loudly on the playground near me.  I’m glad they are happy.

I received Dan and Abigail’s wedding invitation in the mail.  It makes me both happy and sad.  Only Vince and I have yet to get married, and he is in Bolivia.

After Dan and Abigail’s wedding, I wonder if I should stop visiting Banner Elk.  I can so easily get stuck in the past.  It may be better for me to not see that land for a while.

. . .

I’ve sat here in silence for a while now.  I fear I have a broken heart.  I feel Jeni, Sarah, Emily, and Marie have each broken it in their own slight way.  But most of all, I feel I have broken it as well.

An older woman just brought two little blonde girls down to the playground, but then she turned around and walked away after she saw three Black kids playing on it.  And now the two white girls are sad and asking a bunch of questions.  They don’t understand why they can’t play.

Such a sight makes me so thankful I grew up with Marcus, Danny, and Peter.  And that I even had a Black youth pastor for a while.

Life seems to get harder as I grow older.  As a child, I would have never noticed the subtle racism I just experienced.

Jesus, you are my savior.  Am I living fully in your salvation?  Am I accepting all your mercy and forgiveness?  All I want is you.

When it comes down to it, I just want that treehouse covered in snow with the Braveheart soundtrack in my ear.  I want you all around me like that.

Can I have that everyday?

I just realized this is my second time in Sterling, VA.  The first time was with Rachel’s mom when she brought me up to Chrysalis in 1997.  In fact, that was exactly three years ago, for I remember it was in early August.

Is there any love left in me?

It feels like I’m losing all my friends.  I can never have Banner Elk and Lees-McRae again, so I should stop looking and waiting for it.

Do you still have a plan for me God?

Thank you for the leaf that just floated down and sat next to me.  I want more quiet moments alone with you.

Please don’t send me a girl if she’ll only distract me from you, or if I’ll distract her from you as well.  Too many hearts have been bruised.  I want to give all of my heart to you.

July 15, 2000 – Saturday – 3:40 p.m.

I’m not doing too well.  I sent Lindy an email, just explaining the sad condition of my heart, all I wanted was to be understood, but her reply was just telling me to shut up and get over it.

I feel those still in Banner Elk just don’t understand.  No one has left yet.  They are still surrounded by all their friends and they don’t know what it is to be alone in their 20s.  My best friends here are teenage girls (Sterling, Kimberly, Christin), and I have two nice colleagues at work (Dan and Jean), and I get along with my roommate Dan, but I really miss all the Regent film students.  I wish I could see them everyday like I used to, but I just don’t have class anymore.  I feel after I attend Dan and Abigail’s wedding that I should just let Banner Elk be.  It only hurts to try and hold on to it.

I don’t seem to make sense to people at work.  They make fun of me a lot, especially those who work in sales or who work in the warehouse.  Most of them are non-Christians.  Oh well.  It’s never really been any different, so I don’t know why it surprises me when someone thinks I’m odd.  It would probably more weird if someone viewed me as just an average dude.

I wish it was winter.  I wish it was Sunday so I could visit Forefront.  I haven’t been to a regular church service in so long.  I miss God’s touch.

July 9, 2000 – Sunday – 12:30 p.m.

I got home at 5:00 this morning.  I was up in Maryland returning Uncle Jeff’s truck back to him.  My roommate drove my new car up there and then we drove it back down together, but the alternator or battery or something messed up on us.  It’s a long story, but it took us one heck of a time getting back.  We were stopping and waiting.  We slept on the side of the interstate for a while.  We got stuck near Bowling Green, VA where we ate at the Chin Restaurant.  Actually it was the Chinese Inn, but so many letters were burnt out that it read ‘Chin.’

It feels like I’ve been all over Virginia and Maryland this week. Last weekend I camped out with Dan on the top of the mountain behind his house in West Virginia, then we spent the next day visiting Garrett County in Maryland.  I drove back on the 4th of July.

I also helped Kristen out with a CD-Rom she is working on.  She wanted to interview me about today’s youth since I lead 12 of them to Los Angeles nearly one year ago.

I’m sad that I didn’t get to visit Forefront Church this morning, but I was just too sleepy after our night on the highway.  Hopefully I can visit a week from today.

 

July 2, 2000 – Sunday – 8:10 a.m.

Well, at four o’clock yesterday afternoon I decided to go visit Dan in West Virginia.  I’ve never been here before.  It is a beautiful place full of lovely mountains.  My drive up was amazing.

Dan grew up in this awesome cabin-style house.  We went up to the top of the closest mountain last night and saw satellites floating high above.  The stars were so beautiful; there was no moon.

Dan told me that he and Abigail had talked about me and said that I seemed weirder since I left Lees-McRae.

I guess they’re right.

God I just want you to make me who you want me to be.

So it’s the 4th of July weekend and I’m in West Virginia.  Life is making less and less sense.  All seems to be fading away.  I guess I should stop expecting any of this to make sense.

I want adventure.  I want memories.  I want family.

What is keeping me from you God?  I give it up.  Take it from me.

April 21, 2000 – Friday – 8:05 a.m.

I’m in Metuchen, New Jersey again.  And my recent days have been a learning experience.  On the 15th Marie and I drove to Banner Elk.  We visited Tracey’s and Lindy’s first.  Everyone heard we were there and then almost suddenly their living room was full of nearly 20 dear friends wanting to see me.   That was a bit overwhelming for Marie since most of them were girls.  Sarah even showed up and hugged me tightly.

Saturday night we saw Hamlet on campus.  What a wonderful production!  It had one of the most ambitious sets I’ve ever seen on that stage.  On Sunday morning we went to Banner Elk Christian Fellowship, then to hike on Grandfather Mountain, then to visit Leslie and her family, and then to visit Heaton, then to visit Sharon and her girls, and it was just a huge day.  And when I say “we,” I don’t mean Marie and I, I mean everyone, all my dear friends.  Needless to say, Marie got placed aside a bit.  I tried to get her to join in on the fun, but she didn’t.

We talked that evening, and she cried.  She cried because she felt so lonely.  She felt there was this huge world that she had to compete with.  And the next three days passed in that same fashion.  One of those days we drove with Sharon down to Asheville, and we realized that this world of Lees-McRae had already been defined for me.  I knew this place without Marie.  It felt natural for me to cling to them while in this land, for I had no memory of ever clinging to Marie in these mountains.

Marie’s world is three family-members.

Mine is 25 friends.

I never realized how unique my college experience was until I saw it overwhelm another soul.

I still got to see everyone and get caught up.  Curtis and Megan came down.  It was so weird to see them married.  Dan was there for two days, then he left to go snorkeling in the Florida Keys.  Vince is leaving on the 8th of May for Bolivia.  Allen is marrying Jessica in June.  Abigail and Tracey’s band is doing wonderful in the area.  Ann-Marie is moving down to Florida after graduation to work in a repertory theater.  Charlie and Kate are getting married on June 24th.

It was the last time Dan, Allen, Vince, Curtis, and myself would be together for at least the next two years.  And who knows… maybe forever.

Marie and I learned much about ourselves during our five days in Banner Elk.  We left on Thursday to drive up here to New Jersey.  We took the Blue Ridge Parkway until Roanoke and looked at that city a bit.  Then we took the Skyline Drive to Front Royal.

The drive through Shenandoah was beautiful and misty.  Then we drove through parts of Pennsylvania that I’ve never seen before.  I came down with a horrible head cold during the drive, and so here I am super sick in New Jersey.  I think they want to take me to their family doctor.