April 3, 1998 – Friday – 11:20 p.m.

This is kinda crazy.  First of all, last night Sarah and Jessi and I walked to the nearby park, the one Sarah and I walked to on the 10th of December back in 1997.  I asked her if she remembered this place and she said “Yes,” and this kissed me and whispered “I love you” in my ear.

We had a nice time, just being the three of us.  I miss them right now.  We got cold up on the jungle gym so we snuggled up together.  I was squeezed in-between those two beautiful girls.  It was nice.  The evening represented all I want in life: kind words, sweet kisses, and the warmth of a beautiful woman.

Sarah forgot that I was going away for the weekend.  She looked sad when I told her I was going to be gone.

I left with Curtis and Ellen at 8:00 a.m. this morning.  They took me to the Tri-Cities airport in Tennessee.  My first flight was cancelled, but I was booked on another flight three hours later.  During the wait, I had a cream cheese bagel and a cup of hot cocoa.

The flying was fun.  I flew to Charlotte, then down to Tampa, where a young man named Mark was waiting for me.  I met up with some other Teen Mania people.  One guy was even from Johnson City, another who went to Avery High School, and another girl from L.A.

The time here so far has been cool, but my stomach feels terrible.  They also never gave me a list of what I was supposed to bring, so I’m down here without a sleeping bag or pillow.  We’ll see how this turns out.  But thank God…I give all this to you.

Oh, and I’ve discovered that traveling is wonderful, especially when you know you have a home to go back to.  Maybe that’s why this earth seems so amazing to me, because I’m just traveling through, awaiting my return to Heaven.

Tomorrow is a brand new day!

March 11, 1998 – Wednesday – 4:00 p.m.

Let me catch you up.

My one act went wonderfully.  Everyone enjoyed it.  Mason even let me shave his head so he’d look more like an old bald guy.

Yesterday at 3:00 p.m. Vince, Ellen, Becca, Ashley, and myself left for Knoxville to go to a Jars of Clay concert.  We drove three hours only to find out they had rescheduled it for April 2nd.  So, we just went to a movie and hung out at her house.  It was a nice little break.  We got back to campus at 11:00 a.m. this morning.  We weren’t even gone 24 hours, but all of us laughed up a storm.  It was a really funny night.

The Highlanders are leaving at 7:30 tomorrow morning.  I won’t see Sarah for about a week and a half.  We’re doing pretty good.  We will not continue our relationship after I graduate…of that I am sure.  It won’t end, it will just change form.

Things are moving very quickly here in the last days.  I’m not afraid, but excited!

I re-read Sarah’s letter I put in my journal on January 12, 1998.  When everything has changed, that letter is the way I’ll remember our relationship.  It has been and will continue to be…a very good thing.

September 28, 1997 – Sunday – 1:40 a.m.

I’m in my room again.  The drives to Louisville and back were as much fun as any time we spent there.

I have grown accustomed to my new apartment.  It is now my place, my room, but I couldn’t call it my home.  Lees-McRae is my home, and this is simply my room.

After I got back from Kentucky, I went down to Cannon lobby and discovered that a lot of people were down there singing praises to our God!  Abigail had some friends up and Tracey’s family was there.  I joined in and it was a wonderful time of song.  Abigail’s face was a huge and constant smile.  I could see in her eyes how special those two people were to her.  She was amazingly happy and that happiness had nothing to do with me.  That’s probably how it will always be and how it should always be.

Jeni is going to Banner Elk Christian Fellowship tomorrow.  She is excited about seeing David, I think something nice happened between them while I was gone.

I saw an unbelievable Kentucky sunset a few hours ago.  It really was an amazing drive home.  Dr. and Mrs. Martin told Charlie and I the story of how they met, it was just a couple of days into their Freshmen year of college.

I was reading a little bit out of my older Books of Days.  I read about Jenna and Tenielle and about lost keys and alphabets.  How crazy and different I seemed back them.  But that was me then and it isn’t me now.

It made me realize that very soon all of these girls here at Lees-McRae will simply be stories in My Book of Days.  But they haven’t completely faded from my heart into the pages of my journal just yet.  I still remember Jeni’s long, soft legs and the curves of Abigail’s face.  I still dream of Jessica’s hair, Ann-Marie’s smile, and Ellen’s laugh.  These girls mean more to me than I ever let them know.

Then there are the new girls like Sarah and Sherlive, whose college experience will continue on without me.  Every night I go to bed so thankful, so thankful for an extra day with these beautiful women and my fantastic guy friends.  They are bringing me closer to God.  God is loving me through them.

Lees-McRae is passing and I know I’ll be able to let it go.  These people here are everything to me.  When we reach the other side, I’m sure one of the first things I’ll do is look for them.

I have been here simply to love

To witness and experience joy and fun

Soon I’ll leave calmly like a dove

The way night does when day is done.

March 18, 1997 – Tuesday – 10:40 p.m.

I was invited to a special dinner tonight.  It was in honor of a special speaker who came to campus.  I dressed up nice and sat with Kelly (she played Lydia in Children of a Lesser God), Ellen, and two faculty members.  We had a nice talk and a nice dinner.  I learned a lot about Kelly.  She seems to have a wonderful heart for God.  She sang at the program, it was beautiful.

I hung out with Abigail and Jessica afterwards.  They are wonderful.  Things are looking good for Abigail.  She applied to Belmont in Nashville and I pray she gets accepted.

We talked and laughed until the Christian Student Union meeting where I led the evening’s devotional.  I spoke about how God made each of us so he could share us with the rest of his creation.  Yet the irony is that Christians have become a comfortable group and we refuse to let strangers in.  Our job is to love them, accept their differences, forgive them if we need to, and share our life with them.  We had a wonderful discussion.  Some were even crying.

Thanks God for speaking for me.  I love you with my whole life!

March 12, 1997 – Wednesday – 10:17 p.m.

We went to the Florida Aquarium yesterday.  It was very nice.  My favorite were easily the jellyfish.  So beautiful.

Afterwards, we came back here and swam in the lake.  That was relaxing and then we ended the night with the hot tub and a game of UNO.

Today we went to the Museum of Science and Industry.  We saw an IMAX film and played with all the little gadgets.  It was really cool.  We went to a bookstore and then watched the sun set.  We ate at the Stone Turtle for dinner.

Ellen met up with us today and she’ll spend the rest of the week with us.

These days are nice, but it’s hard to find time alone.  Fun memories are being made, and I couldn’t ask for better friends.

This world is really big.  There are so many people just in this city.  There are so many eyes and ears here, and I feel it is my calling to tell them stories.

But I’m only a stranger, a pilgrim passing through.

I will work here.

But this is not my home.

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?

November 7, 1996 – Thursday – 2:15 p.m.

It’s raining outside.  It’s beautiful.

I’m listening to Christmas music.

Laura’s birthday was yesterday.  They had a party for her last night. I wasn’t able to go.  She is seventeen.  Vince talks to me about the two of them.  They might actually make it.  He adores her.  I’m so glad they are together.

For the past two evenings I have been at tech rehearsal for the upcoming dance concert.  I’m the Assistant Stage Manager.

Last night Josh sang in the performance seminar.  I’ve told you about Josh I’m sure.  He’s the 18-year-old who looks 12.  The song he sang was adorable.  He is so precious.  He’s only five feet tall.  He looks up to me as a role model and he tells me as much.  He’s a good friend.

Alex is in my playwriting class.  All of the short plays he has written so far haven’t been very good, but his one-act is turning out to be amazing.  He’s really just meeting with Doc and she’s writing down everything he says, but it’s brilliant; better than anything I could write.

It’s so crazy to realize the semester is marching to an end.

A couple of nights ago at Sharon’s Bible study, there was a moment when Abigail, Ann-Marie, Tracey, Ellen, Jeni, and I went outside and into the tree house on their property.  It was really cold, so we all bundled together for body heat.  Everyone’s arms were around each other.  Abigail’s soul wasn’t hurting, but the cold hurt her body.  I was close to her, holding her; her head in my chest.  What I prayed on the 29th of the past month has come true.

Thank you God.

November 5, 1996 – Tuesday – 12:15 a.m.

Sunday night I went to visit Ann-Marie, Jeni, and Tracey in their room.  We talked until one in the morning.  They told me all about their recent “girl talk.”  Ann-Marie liked Curtis for a long time, but never said anything.  However, all three of those girls now think Curtis is a big jerk, and they no longer like him now that they know him.

Jeni told me later she doesn’t understand those girls; Abigail, Ann-Marie, and Tracey all say I am the nicest guy, yet I am still alone.

I told Ann-Marie that I really liked her at the beginning of the semester.  She blushed and said, “Really?  I’m sorry…”

We all laughed about it.

They told me that Abigail has returned and that K.C. kissed her over the weekend.  They are a couple now.  I was so happy to hear that.  I prayed for both of them.

Auditions were tonight for Children of A Lesser God.  Auditions were taped and sent to the director in New York.  His name is Mark and he’s a guest director coming down just to direct this show.  It would be crazy if I got the lead!

We had Bible Study tonight at Sharon’s.  Abigail, Tracey, Ann-Marie, Jeni, Dan, Allen, Curtis, Vince, Ellen, Josh, and I all went; Abigail had never been to their house before.  She seemed to have a good time.  We talked a lot; she is such a sweet girl.  I enjoy being her friend so much.  Thank you for her Lord.  She is like another Ryan or Christi in my life; and that’s what I wanted.

I don’t know how to thank you God.  You are so good to me.  You’re doing everything.  You are taking care of it all.  It feels like I don’t really have to do anything.  You are the one producing a good work in me.  I just love you so much.  I give you all the glory, honor, and praise!!

October 21, 1996 -Monday – 10:20 a.m.

I did get a hold of Tenielle.  She met with Shurby and had a deliverance session.  She said demons were cast out of her.  I praise God for that and still continue to pray for her.

My role in Rosengrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is so easy and fun.  I thank God for my chance to work with that cast.  The show opens on Thursday.  My parents are coming on Sunday.

It has finally grown colder than usual.  The leaves are mostly off the trees and the top of Beech Mountain was frosty white on Saturday.

Wilkes came up to visit this past weekend.  He was one of the guys that worked with Vince and Ellen over the summer.  He and Ellen and I met up with Marjorie in Boone.  We went to a cool restaurant and simply laughed our butts off the whole night.

We ended up spending time at Marjorie’s house.  She such a cool girl.  I hope to see her again.

Yesterday, Vince and Laura and I visited Banner Elk Christian Fellowship.  It was great.  I saw a lot of people I knew.  The worship service was wonderful.  I want to go back, but next Sunday, I’m leading the Children’s Church at Heaton.

Jeni told me that Ann-Marie told her that I was a nice and sweet guy, but that my future plans do not go along with hers.  Therefore, she is not going to “waste her time.”  Which I agree with, but she seems to avoid me.  I try to talk to her and become simply a close Christian friend, but she won’t open up.  She is the props runner for the show.  Every time I talk to her she has this look on her face like, “Why are you talking to me?”

I wrote the two papers that were due, but I only read one play.  Vince and I leave for New York in five weeks.  Then two weeks of classes and exams and then I will go home.  I’ll work at McDonald’s for a month.  Christmas, and then 1997.

But before 1997 arrives, I have a show every night this week.

I give all of this to you God.

September 29, 1996 – Sunday – 8:30 a.m.

Yesterday, Kevin and I watched Braveheart while I covered duty for Derek.  We went out to Blowing Rock to have dinner that night.  It was just me, Kevin, Vince, and Curtis.

I went to rehearsal last night.  I got a lot accomplished, so it was good.  Allen and Ellen returned from the Billy Graham Crusade last night.  They got front row seats!  I was a little jealous.

I called Marta last night.  She is meeting me this morning to go to church.

God has been so good to me.  He lifts me higher and higher each day.

I long to love a woman.  To love her just a fraction of how much I love God would be a great victory in my life.  To simply learn to share my existence with someone else.  Can there be a greater challenge?

This morning while brushing my teeth in the bathroom, I thought of Abigail.  Then suddenly, the flickering fluorescent light above me popped into it’s full brightness.

I took it as a sign, but then immediately laughed out loud at myself.

Ahh, here I go again.