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.

 

July 29, 1997 – Tuesday – 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday.  Two days without Sherlive, but my thoughts have been filled with her.

I washed clothes this morning.  Worked, or rather laughed, with Lindy in the box office and then came back and washed dishes.  I read my Bible and a Max Lucado story this evening, then Dan, Vince, Charlie and I went to a nearby pastor’s house.  Dan had brought some chemical or something back from West Virginia and he wanted to make something called a potato gun.  He said the chemical was illegal in all the other states except for West Virginia.  But we didn’t have any potatoes, so the idea was to borrow some from this pastor with a nice garden.  Once we entered his house, his wife asked us if we wanted some dinner.  We said, “No, but we would like some vegetables from your garden.”  And they were more than happy to give us some.

They didn’t have any potatoes, but they had tons of zucchini they wanted to part with.  So, with our hands full of more zucchini than we could ever eat, we drove to the football field on campus and Dan got out this pipe and I don’t really understand what happened, but they stuffed one end with a zucchini, and the other end was full of this chemical, a bit of water and then Dan was holding a flame at the bottom.  Nothing was happening and we were all saying he was full of crap, but all of a sudden…BOOM!!!

We had just shot a zucchini halfway across Banner Elk!  It was a super loud explosion.  Dogs started barking all over town, lights were coming on in all the houses, and I’ve never been so scared in my life so I just immediately started running across the field to hide somewhere; I was sure the cops were coming to take us away for life.

But I had totally forgot that Dan had given me his keys for some reason and I had stranded them there since I ran off.  Luckily Dan had a spare key under his car in a magnet box, but it took them forever to retrieve it.

We finally met up and they kept making fun of how fast I ran away.  I guess it was pretty funny, but I was seriously terrified at the time.  I’ve already been arrested once in this town for trespassing.

. . .

I talked to Rachel tonight and I leave for Chrysalis Thursday morning.

While in the box office today, I called the church and asked for the number of a family that lives in TN, hoping they would have a phone book for that region.  They did and I asked them to look up Denny, Sherlive’s dad’s name.  They found it and I now have her phone number.  I haven’t called her yet, but I might if she doesn’t show up for church tomorrow night.

I see Sherlive and I getting close, but this is her freshman year and my senior year.  I’m kinda scared.

Truth:

This is not my home.

Sherlive is not mine.

She is God’s, as am I.

God comes first.

Otherwise, nothing else will work.

Heaven is in the end.

Heaven is a secret.

A secret allowed to be told.

I must tell that secret.

Secrets are secrets because they are true.

. . .

July is ending.

The month of change awaits.

Change is hiding under my bed.

Awaiting to take me in the night.

I will change rooms, age, and class.

Voices, eyes, smiles, they are killing me.

I fight, live, and die for them all.

They come and haunt me.

I feel Sherlive understands this loving pain.

And that is what burns inside of me.

I no longer know what to write.  I can’t write all of my thoughts for some of them are secrets.  Secrets like heaven and they too don’t have words.

July 27, 1997 – Sunday – 8:10 a.m.

I met her two weeks ago this evening.  Sherlive is a miracle and blessing from God.  She came to visit me while I worked in the box office on Saturday.  Lindy wasn’t there yesterday, so it was only Sherlive and I.  We played cards and talked about the Lord.  I told her some things on my mind, deeper thoughts; I let her in a little.  We talked so long. She is so much fun.  She is a snowboarder, but she thinks chick flicks are awesome.  She listens to the same music I do.

She came for the orientation on Friday and Saturday and needed a place to stay the night instead of driving back to Tennessee; she wanted to go to church with me this morning.  Dan is in West Virginia so I offered to let her sleep here.  She is asleep now in Dan’s bed.

We talked about her last night and how her life is a miracle.  They were in a car accident in Kentucky, a very serious car accident, when she was seven.  The doctors basically waited for her to die.  But here she is now.  She has a stuttering problem because of that accident.  Her jaw was shattered and her face and forehead cut open, but God kept her alive.

And he brought her here.

She is so beautiful and so in love with God.

July 26, 1997 – Saturday – 10:00 a.m.

Today is Rebecca St. James’ birthday.  She is 20-years-old.

Orientation is not quite over.  How exciting this age is.  How exciting these days are.  To join together with four hundred people your own age, and to live in such a small, personal space with those individuals and their eyes who are striving and longing for that same goal.

My Lees-McRae College story has only one year left.  I can only tell my story as I experienced it.  I can tell no one else’s.  And after this year, that story will be complete; well, at least the story of my official time as a student will be complete.  Then, I will begin a new story in a new place and there I will join with other eyes who are seeking the same goal.

And after that, I do not believe this type of life will ever happen again.  Well, maybe in an old folks home.  Wouldn’t it be great if Dan, Allen, Vince, and Curtis and I all ended up in the same old folks home several decades from now!

But as for today, I feel as though Lees-McRae is mine.  I feel as though Banner Elk is mine.    I feel is it my job to love and care for the people here.

Jeanine went home for the weekend, so Kristina, the little 11-year-old girl Jeanine is here to look after, was alone.  After Forever Plaid last night, which I watched with Sherlive, Kristina, plus tons of other people like Marisa, her brother Mason, Ann-Marie, Tracey, etc., all just played around in the lobby.  Around one o’clock in the morning, everyone left except for Kristina.  I don’t think she wanted to be alone.  So, I told her I’d stay with her.  I slept in her room on Jeanine’s bed.  We fell asleep while watching The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

I awoke this morning to see Kristina sound asleep.  Another set of eyes.  Another name.  Another soul.  Just a little girl, like Veronica, like Jenna, like Tenielle, and like Hannah.  Perhaps God has brought so many young girls into my life to teach me that every woman I will ever meet…well, part of her will always be that little girl; that little girl that just wants to be loved and protected and reminded that she isn’t alone.

 

 

 

July 25, 1997 – Friday – 1:00 p.m.

Another student orientation is today.  So many wonderful new freshmen.  So many eyes.  So many smiles.  So many stories.  So many girls.

And I have only one year with them.  Not even that really.  Really only nine months.

I will leave and they will enjoy life on my playground.

They will know my name and my face, for I will walk through their hallways of homes as I make my RD rounds.  Oh how I long to make each one happy, to make sure each one knows Christ as his or her savior and friend.  I want to tell each nervous parent that I will take care of their son or daughter.  I want to love each and every one of them.

Last night Jeanine and I went for a walk through the cool mountain night.  We get along well.

Dan has gone away for the weekend.  Not to my surprise, Vince and Laura have gotten back together.  My mom and Nate may come up on Sunday.

A month from today, all of these new stories and eyes will be here at the same time.

This should be a fun year; ’97-’98.  My senior year in college.

I’m nearly 21 years old.

Where suddenly have I gone?

July 14, 1997 – Monday – 9:30 a.m.

Yesterday morning I led Sunday School.  The service was really great.  Brent, our new pastor, is hilarious.

We went grocery shopping after church, then headed to the park and had a cookout with two other youth groups from the area.

Jason was there with us.  We played Ultimate Frisbee and our team won.  It was a lot of fun.

Rebecca St. James is playing at Gardner Webb University tonight.  I called and reserved some tickets.  Dan, Allen, and possibly Kate are going with me.  I’m so excited!

Last night the youth group came over and we all watched That Thing You Do!

A girl named Sherlive also came over.  She will be a freshman in the fall.

I can’t wait until tonight!

July 7, 1997 – Monday – 1:25 a.m.

Wow, what a recent couple of days.

Thursday evening I hung out with Lindy, Ann-Marie, Tracey, and Jeni at the Mill Pond.  Jeni and I found sticks and pretended they were swords.  Then we started wrestling.  I had a good time, and right now I can’t remember what I did later that night.

Friday, the fourth of July, came and for the first half of the day I waited around for Vince, so he and I and Allen could do something.  But he went out to eat with Laura and never came back.  So, I just left with Tracey and Jeni.  We went to the Tweetsie Railroad parking lot just to see what was going on, then we went to The Farm House to see Derek and Dawn, and then we ended up at the dollar theater and watched Sling Blade.  Wow, a great film!

Saturday morning began with me trying to get a five foot snake out of one of my residents’ bed.  That is a story in and of itself, but we finally got it out.

Also, Vince confronted Laura about their physical issues.  She ran away from him on Saturday.  Then she returned and brought him a box full of everything he ever gave her.  Charlie came over and Vince, Allen, Charlie and myself had a big talk about relationships.  Vince and Laura got things worked out, but Charlie and Kate…oh boy!

After we talked for a while on Saturday, we went to Johnson City, TN and walked around the mall.  We ate pizza, saw Men in Black, a completely stupid movie, and Charlie stopped to look at engagement rings.  It was weird.  They’ve broken up, but he’s looking at engagement rings.  That stage of my life seems so far away from me right now.

Charlie is a mess, but Kate seems to love her newly found freedom away from him.

Sunday (today) was Homecoming Sunday.  Our new pastor was there.  His name is Brent.  Jim was also there.  There was a lot of food, so I ate a good lunch.

A girl, a visitor, caught my eye and we smiled at each other; so delightful when a new face comes along.

A lot of guys from the church made plans to play tennis that afternoon, and we did, but then Charlie came by with a hitchhiker and asked me to go with the two of them to Lenoir.

There is a very detailed story that I must explain, but I’ll do that in the morning hopefully.

Dan is back.  He looks like Jesus with his long hair and beard.  We’ve had so much fun already.  He’s staying with me.

More to tell, but I’m so sleepy.