June 8, 1997 – Sunday – 5:23 p.m.

Yeah baby!  The weekend was so great!  I am a Promise Keeper!!  A stadium of 60,000 Christian men singing praises to one God!  A night spent in a beautiful Victorian Bed & Breakfast!  Charlie, Vince, and Allen right next to me, plus new friends I made from the trip!  Whew, walls were torn down.

Redemption!  I am free at last!

I will live in purity.  I will read, pray, and fellowship!  I am alive in Christ!!

When I returned home I read chapter 17 from Max Lucado’s God Came NearEternal Instants.  You know, the moments so perfect that the whole universe stands still to notice.  I can think of many right now, and I’ve only been alive for a little over 20 years.

Sitting in the treehouse on Hemlock Hill on a snowy night listening to Braveheart.

Crystal rubbing my neck at the drive-in in Tennessee.

Talking to Emily under the boardwalk in Ft. Walton Beach.

Touching Abigail’s face in McAlister room 206 on Lees-McRae’s campus.

Kissing Jeni in Cincinnati, Ohio while listening to The Wedding Song by Kenny G.

Playing underneath the full moon with Dan and Allen on the back side of Grandfather Mountain.

Holding a curled up Tenielle on her bathroom floor.

Performing “The Mask Skit” at Abundant Life Christian Center.

Eating Wheat Thins and slowly falling asleep next to Jessica under God’s open starry sky.

Playing water guns with Jonathan, Mike, Marcus, and Kevin.

Tubing down Deep Creek with Danny and Peter.

Holding Syndi under the waterfall.

Passing a car in the turning lane with Jonathan.

Helping a lost boy find his mother at Fishnet.

Playing Myst with Vince in New York.

Helping Ryan in and out of the corner tree.

Standing next to the Grand Canyon with Brandon.

Graduating high school and seeing Renee smile at me.

Signing my way through Children of A Lesser God.

Singing with 60,000 men in Knoxville.

And that eternal instant right before I fall asleep each night, when I reflect on the beauty of each amazing day!

Oh wait, and how could I forget, perhaps the most perfect moment of all, riding back from Tennessee with Sharon as Hannah fell asleep in my lap.

May 9, 1997 – Friday – 10:00 a.m.

On Wednesday I had a dentist appointment.  I’m gonna get four wisdom teeth removed on the 19th of this month.  Mom and I went shopping for some clothes for me.

Church was that night.  Pastor Steve seemed so happy to see me.  The church was full of strangers.  I’ve been away a long time.

Yesterday, I went to pick Kevin up in Fayetteville.  We drove around to look at cars; he needs to get one before he goes to Richmond.

That night we met up with Danny and Peter.  The four of us went Asheboro to see Liar, Liar.  We spent about an hour at the Golden Waffle eating and sipping on hot chocolate.  We’ve known each other for 15 years now.

Fifteen years.

Wow!

I’m concerned for them though.  They don’t know the Lord and come from a Hindu background.  They went to church with us when they were really little, and I remember Danny accepting Jesus at a Royal Rangers meeting, but now that they are in their 20s, it doesn’t seem like they believe anything.  Make yourself real to them God.  Use me.

Curtis just called me.  I’m flying out of Raleigh tonight.  I’ll meet him in Atlanta, then we’ll drive down to Florida in the morning.

For the first time, it is becoming difficult to call and visit old friends.  Marcus has come by to visit.  He is himself and wonderful, but it’s hard to go see Jenna and Tenielle.  I’m not sure that I want to see Jenna pregnant.  I would rather just thank God for my past and then move on into the future.  But I also know me, and I’m sure I’ll see them before I go away for another six months.

Another semester has faded into the past and I’d like to write down my most favorite moments from it.  These are not in any particular order of importance or value, they are all the same.

First, it was the moment right after our final Children of a Lesser God performance when I realized what I had accomplished.

Second, touching Abigail’s face.

Third, seeing the sparkling jellyfish at the Florida Aquarium.

Fourth, walking alone with the geese during the sunset in Ahoskie.

Fifth, sleeping out under the stars with Jessica.

And finally, those countless times when Vince, Dan, Allen, Curtis, and myself would lay around and talk about life, love, and other mysteries.  I may not meet my wife at Lees-McRae, but I already know I’ve found friends that will last a lifetime.

April 21, 1997 – Monday – 11:50 a.m.

Bowling was fun yesterday.  I drove with Dan and Allen.  We met our Sunday School class there.  Vince and Laura were there as well.

On the way there we heard the end of a song that I heard a couple of times when I was working on my stage design model last month.  All I knew was that it was from a group called Hanson.  It’s so fun.  I went to the mall and immediately bought the single.  The song’s called MMMBop.  It’s so much fun.  Allen and Dan and I had the best time dancing to it in the car.

Last night was college night at church.  I gave the message and spoke on how God is calling us to be perfect.  Charlie said he was moved and others asked me if I was going to be a pastor when I grew up.  I simply said no, that I wanted to work in theater and film.  After the service we all came back to school and played ping pong for hours.

Life is wonderful.  Life is short.  College is about learning.  I’m learning how to be perfect, how to live, how to dance, and how to say….

Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du, yeah

April 11, 1997 – Thursday – 1:30 p.m.

Yesterday, Abigail and I made small conversation at lunch.  We laughed and smiled, even cracked a few jokes on each other.   Nearly three weeks until she is gone.

Vince and I went to Boone after lunch and I bought some T-shirts and a CD.  We had a lot of fun.  The dance concert was last night and we went to Bible Study after that.

Dan, Allen, and I played F-Zero until 12:30 in the morning.  We do that a lot and laugh the whole time.  Vince now buys his clothes according to Laura’s favorite color.  Curtis has never been more likable and lovable.  He has grown and changed.  He has found himself and he’s moving on to share that understanding with others.

Jeni still cries over David.  Tracey and I will work together over the summer; Timothy and Ann-Marie will be here too.  Jessica is my favorite girl here.  We have so much fun together.  She is going to Colorado for the summer.

I think that Josh is the one that keeps us all alive however.  He’s so small in frame, yet so much in laughs.

I interviewed for the Assistant Resident Director position for next year, and I’m currently planning a water gun assassination game.  It starts Monday.

 

February 24, 1997 – Monday – 11:10 a.m.

God is so good.

He has given me everything.  I love him with my life.  He knows me better than anyone else.  He knows my rights and my wrongs.  He knows my weaknesses, yet he still loves me.  He knows everything I am going through and he loves me nonetheless.

God, I know you will never let me go.

Thank you for Abigail God.

Thank you for Jeni, Tracey, Jessica, Ann-Marie, Vince, Dan, Allen, Curtis, Josh, and Timothy.

You are my life.  You are my light.  You are my love.

You are my everything.  I need nothing but you.

I am yours.

Yours forever.

February 16, 1997 – Sunday – 1:30 a.m.

Something has happened to me.  Children of a Lesser God has changed me.  For the past month I put so much of my time in becoming James Leeds.  And in about 16 hours, it will be over.  I’ve learned so much.  Mark is such a true professional director.  He taught me the world.  He let me be an actor.  He trusted me.

There was an article in the paper, where Mark said, “Children of a Lesser God is a play about human rights, discrimination, and modern society’s reluctance to care.  Though the play focuses on the deaf culture, its ramifications can be applied to all forms of discrimination and ignorance, from racial issues to sexual orientation to religious preference.  It reveals the root of intolerance as based in the ignorance and apathy of human beings and their unwillingness to take time and energy to explore and understand an issue before they condemn its existence.”

Whew.  I don’t know how to explain it.  I seem different.  This play has matured me.  Even aged me.

Dana and Bradley came tonight, as did Dan and Allen.  They were impressed.  Strangers came up tonight and asked me how I memorized the whole show since I never left the stage.  To not only learn my lines, but to learn Sarah’s lines, as well as sign language.  I’m glad they noticed, but it didn’t seem all that hard, I just really wanted to do it and asked God to help me.

Dawn has been a delight.  To play a person who fell in love with a person she played.  No matter who I am, some version of me will always miss that time we were married on stage.

My dad came and seemed impressed, “Hard to believe that was you,” he said.

Thank you Mark Medoff for writing such a beautiful play.

It’s hard to know what I’m feeling.  Only one performance left.  Kevin is coming with the rest of the family.

So, where do I go from here?

What do I do now?

This love is leaving me.

I will be left alone with free evenings and no one to kiss.

February 3, 1997 – Monday – 1:30 p.m.

The weather is warm.  I went rock hoping this morning, but I fell in the creek thanks to some slippery rocks.  I bruised up my left arm, but I had an exciting time jumping from boulder to boulder.

Yesterday was warm as well.  After church Josh, Tracey, and I did our homework outside.  Most Banner Elk February days are bitterly cold.

I’m trying to make plans for Spring Break, which occurs in about a month.  Charlie and I are looking into a cruise, but we don’t know any details yet.

If I don’t get the Crosspoint job then I can either be a counselor at Holston Camp (where Vince and Ellen worked) or I can do Summer Theater again.  I’m just waiting on the Lord.

Children of a Lesser God is coming along nicely.  Rehearsal was really cool last night.  I’m getting excited.  I can’t wait for there to be an audience.

Oscar nominations come out pretty soon.

School work has become fairly easy, even though I thought it would be a tough semester.  I’m looking forward to my directing class in the fall.

Dan got two second place trophies in the ski race in Virginia this weekend.

It’s been three years, three months, and three weeks since I first set foot upon the campus of Lees-McRae College.

That was on October 11, 1993.

It is now February 7, 1997.

They say there are only four seasons in a year and then it starts over.  But that is not true.  No season is ever the same.  New and different people arrive.  Every season is different.  In fact, we are seasons in ourselves.  We grow in the springtime of our life, fall in love during the summer, we learn and produce fruit in the autumn, and fade away in the winter.

Oh God…how much longer?