November 3, 2000 – Friday – 5:10 p.m.

Trey and I have completed a rough cut of Dang!, but it is going to cost a few more thousand dollars to finish it on 16mm, which is what is required for it to play at the Regent Film Festival at the Naro Cinema in the spring. Having already put a few thousand dollars on a credit card to make this movie, I thought I’d show it to Terry, one of the top dogs in the administration, to see if he could help. I showed it to him this afternoon.

After it was over he said, “Wow! I’ll make sure you get your money.”

And there it is! My God has remained faithful. Not only will my film show here, but also in Los Angeles at the Director’s Guild of America later next year. From there I’ll try to submit it to as many festivals as I can.

I’m still a bit speechless. I feel very thankful inside. I’m making movies, and I stand in awe of it every day.

On a totally different note, I’ve met some amazing girls this past week. Perhaps I know my movie is good, and that has improved my confidence, which makes me a bit more appealing than I usually would be. Oh, I wonder if that movie will ever get made.

There’s a girl out there somewhere praying for me, and there’s a song inside each us of that neither of us have ever heard. We will hear it soon, when we find one another.

Oh God, I’m amazed by you.

October 23, 2000 – Monday – 8:13 p.m.

Amazing how some days can be so simple and pleasant; days when I notice every tiny, beautiful thing.

I believe this October 23rd was such a day. I watched people today. I saw how old we all are, how in need of a Savior.

I’ve been writing more these days as well. I think my latest script is coming along nicely.

I often wonder on what my mind dwells on these days. I do not believe it is girls, and I do not think I dwell on my career. I think I’m in a time of acceptance and wonder. I often reflect on how amazing it is that I am right here; right now doing this very thing.

Growing more distant from Lees-McRae has placed depth into my perception on life. I see how we are all very much on a different walk towards the same destination. I find a beautiful comfort in that thought.

I am simply entertained by God’s everyday divineness. A divineness which to me seems so random and uncontrolled. But He is putting everything in place. I am doing okay.

So this is where I am now. I’m in Virginia Beach, Virginia. My roommate is from Canada, and I wonder who my true friends are here. I believe the Sterling’s family is a true friends to me. I can be quiet around them, and all feels okay.

I believe Dan is a true friend as well.

I miss Chris. He was a good friend too, but he’s graduated and moved on.

Trey, Mike, and Kristen are becoming good filmmaking buddies. Every now and then Trey and I will talk about life issues instead of just movies.

Things are a bit too early at Forefront, but I like all the staff members, especially Vince, Mark, and Chris; I’ve probably spent the most time with them.

I enjoy my work, and I enjoy my ministry. My small group on Wednesday nights is growing tighter. We are planning a weekend getaway together. My Thursday night group meets for the second time this week. I pray God binds us together.

And from my life before this one, there is really no-one from Siler City that I am in touch with. I did see Marcus in September. I don’t know about Tenielle and Jena, or the other girls like Ryan, Amy, Christi, and Cheryl. Every now and then I may hear something through my mom, but even she has lost contact with that world.

From Lees-McRae, Vince and I email. I’m very proud of all he is doing in Bolivia. Every now and then I call the other guys and speak to their wives as well.

Lindy doesn’t call or write anymore. She seemed upset with me at Abigail’s wedding, and I could never figure out why.

Sarah and I are supposedly keeping in better touch, but I’ve written her two letters and she hasn’t written me back yet.

I have no plans to return to Banner Elk, and part of me hopes it isn’t for a long while.

So, the stories I write in these pages must come from this world of Virginia Beach. How weird it is that I am here, but I know it is exactly where God wants me. I like this different flat land. If you are in a good place, the sunsets are fantastic!

February 26, 2000 – Saturday – 10:14 a.m.

Life has recently been spent in rehearsal, class, work, and with Marie.  We had our most favorite special “friend day” yesterday on a little peer out at Munden Point Park.  It is a perfect place of reflecting light, green trees, and blue sky.  We were barefoot little kids playing in life-giving water and spitting on mosquitoes.  A perfect day, an eternal instant, we wanted to spend our entire lives there.

Sarah emailed me this past week.  I emailed her back and let her know that I did not want to continue to keep in touch, that it was not fair to Marie.

I spoke with Tracey this morning.  Charlie was punched in the face and knocked out cold by a resident.  He felt the school didn’t support him, so he quit his Residence Life job and left Lees-McRae.  He’s staying with his parents, but they don’t want him there.  Kate moved down to Franklin, NC with her parents who recently moved there.

Dan is back in Colorado.

Tracey and Abigail’s Seven Strangers band is making a demo tape.  Everything is supposedly going really well for that little band.

Vince and Natalie have spent the past two weeks in New York with Vince’s dad.

And Lindy is trying to get certified in aerobics.

The Regent community, or rather our small group of Communication School acquaintances, are beginning to put two and two together when it comes to Marie and I.  Many guys have asked Marie if she is seeing someone because she has this “certain glow.”

She tells them yes.

I think it is funny.

I applied for an office manager job for a children’s theater company in Norfolk.  I pray God blesses me with it.

Children are playing outside my window now.  It’s very clear that March begins in four days.  The sounds are in the air.

I apologized to Marie last night for kissing Jeni and Sarah.  I told her I wished I had waited for her alone.  I regret the words and phrases I have written in past journals about other girls, thinking and believing I wanted to spend my life with them, thinking and believing I loved them so deeply.

Forgive me God.  I wish I could erase those pages from my journal.

I love you Jesus.  Thank you for this redemption.  I place my past and my sin before you.  You are holy and beautiful.

July 5, 1999 – Monday – 10:40 a.m.

This has been the greatest of all mornings.

I sit now in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport in Texas.  I was here nearly a year ago.  I sure didn’t know then that I’d be back.  The rest of the team is in the air right now, on their way to L.A.  I, because I’m an adult, was forced to take a later flight since the other one was over booked.

So, I’m alone now, and that is a good thing.  I need this time to write.

We had an outreach in Chesapeake on Saturday and afterwards the team went to see Tarzan at the movies.  I sat next to Mary.  Our elbows rested on the same arm rest and touched.  And around the middle of the movie, we discovered that we could touch each other’s fingers through the cup holder without any of the team seeing.

It was awesome.

After the show everyone went to my apartment and some of the girls and Corey cooked for everyone.  Mary and I got a chance to talk again.  We wanted to make sure that we weren’t just using each other for a little summer fling.  We hold each other in the highest respect.  The night ended in a crazy conversation about our most embarrassing moments.  Everyone was laughing so hard. A dozen or more teens were in my apartment having the time of their life and not even realizing it.  It was priceless.

July 4th was the next morning and we ministered at a small church in Toano, which is the same town my grandparents live in.  I went to visit both sets.  I even saw my dad, who didn’t look well at all.  He’s gotten insanely fat.  He also told me that Kevin got in another accident last night.

I hurriedly returned to my Master’s Commission gang, fully aware that I’d rather spend time with them than my own father.  We decided to take the super long and scenic route back to Chesapeake, which involved a ferry ride.  That evening, Meagan and Mary and I went to Meagan’s beautiful country home out in Pungo.  The three of us drove to Sandbridge and spend the final hours of the last 4th of July of the 1900s playing in the deep dark waves of the Altantic Ocean.  An airplane made amazing glow-in-the-dark smoke trails in the star-filled sky above.  The night was perfect, but soon midnight came and the day that I am now breathing in began.

We left Sandbridge around one in the morning.  Meagan drove, Mary sat in front of me, and she would reach back and we would hold and touch each other’s hands.  We got to the house and showered all the salt and sand off of us.  Meagan went to bed and then, for about two hours, I held and touched the most amazing girl alive.

Mary and I spent the early hours of this morning realizing this would be the only chance we had to touch each other.  So, we cautiously spoke into each other’s hearts while guarding them at the same time.  We did not sleep.  It was the most precious few hours of my history.  How beautiful was its purity!  Her soft skin.  Her eyebrows.  Her neck.  Her back.  Her ears.  Her hair.  Oh, and she wanted to shave my face, so I let her.  And then I shaved her legs.  How weird and crazy we are!

I want her so bad, but I’ll only be around her for another week, and in the busy town of L.A. at that.  Our conversation this morning was so precious.  We were no longer two team leaders, but we were man and woman, stopping the world for a few brief hours, so we could acknowledge the value in each other.  Thank you for this morning God.  Use it for your glory!

Now she flies over New Mexico, while I sit in Texas.  Why do goodbyes take place?  Why do I have to part from this girl?  If coming to Virginia Beach did anything for me, it introduced me to Mary, and that makes everything worth it!

Above that though, God has used her to do a healing in me.  My faith in Christian women has grown strong again.  She and I are no accident.  We are no mishap.  This is divine.  I’m not saying she is the one, I’m just saying she has been divinely appointed to me for this brief time, as I have been to her.

Sweet Jesus, you never let me go.  You are my desire.  You bring such good things into my life.  Thank you!

 

April 15, 1999 – Thursday – 9:30 p.m.

Life is beautiful.

There are beautiful eternal instants happening all around me.  Moments of bike-riding with Kimberly and studying the photo albums of her youth with her under the amber light shade of her living room.

Mary Jo just left here.  We spent nearly an hour together just listening to good music, especially Caedmon’s Call’s Table for Two.  We have declared it our song.  Our conversation turned into a pillow fight.  She is so lovely to be around.

Kerstin came to visit me in the bookstore.  We seem to talk so much about relationships, despite the fact that neither of us are in one.  Oh how beautiful conversation is.

David and his brother and I are going to see The Matrix tonight.  They haven’t seen it yet. I called Vince last night, he said he saw it and he loves it.  He said he plans to spend the summer in Banner Elk, as does everyone else.

Everything looks better.  Everyone is beautiful.  Jesus has become my eyes.  To know him; that is the only reason why we are here.

Angela (from my South Africa trip) and I email each other regularly.  She is such a blessing.  She lives in Seattle.

I’m sure the air feels nice outside McAlister Hall right now, but I’d rather feel the air here.  How wild this thing is.  I don’t miss driving the hour back and forth between Siler City and Winston-Salem; I’m just glad to know I was once there.

I’m happy to know that I was a good undergraduate student and that I did it well.  Oh this life is not my own.  I’m so thankful for that; it’s easier to exist that way.  No burdens.  No fears.  I only task is to let go and love every minute freely and fully.  I job is to rest in his peace and salvation.

My beautiful Jesus.  You are perfection.  Thank you for the life you’ve breathed into me.  I love you.  I do, I do.

January 31, 1999 – Sunday – 11:38 p.m.

What an amazing weekend!  Friday, after youth group, Kimberly, Sterling, Christin, new friend Tessa, and a few others went to eat at IHOP.  These girls are the joy of my life these days.  I took Kimberly home afterwards.

Saturday, after going to Northwest River Park to measure a pier I found there for a short film I hope to make, I went to Kim’s birthday party, and everyone just had a fantastic time.  There was so much laughter!

Afterwards, some of us went to the movies and saw She’s All That.  It was definitely a movie for 16-year-old girls, but that’s who I surrounded by, so it was fun.  I took Kimberly home then as well.  I sat next to her in church this morning and felt like a helpless high schooler again.  She’s unbelievable, and I wanted so badly to reach over and hold her hand, but I didn’t.  Sometimes it feels like I like every girl I ever meet.

I went over to Sterling’s this afternoon and we played in her room all afternoon.  At the Super Bowl party tonight at church, the teenagers started talking about potential guy/girl relationships, so I walked away and stayed out of it.  Later Rebekah came and talked to me and asked me if I knew how women wanted to be treated.  I shared my answer and her mouth hung open in disbelief.  She said I was spot on.  My feelings then were bittersweet.  Many women tell me I have them all figured out, yet I don’t have anyone to give share my life with.

David and I talked a bit after everyone left.  He is interested in a 20-year old girl at church.  He’s 26.  It should happen.

February is around the corner, so it feels like talk of love and relationships is in the air.

But no matter how much I dream of Kimberly or Christin, these girls are simply too young for me at this stage of life.  They are Winter Dreams.  I will have moved on from here by the time they are of the right age for a serious relationship to truly go anywhere.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t lose sleep thinking about them now.

December 20, 1998 – Sunday – 8:51 a.m.

There are 11 days left in this year.  I am trying to think of a way to let whoever ends up reading this to truly grasp the beauty and wonder of what is happening here.  I cannot believe God is using me in the way he is.  In less than five months, God has allowed me to see how my simple presence and laughter is changing people’s lives.  I am making a difference, as I assume everybody is, but I somehow get to see it.

Love never fails.

David sent me a card saying his life had never been so interesting until I came into it.  God is using me to minister into so many girls’ lives here.  Somehow God leads me into a group of girls and they don’t stop being themselves.  They don’t seem to change from a “girl” into a “girl that is now around a guy.”  I’m seeing things many guys never get to see.

Our Christmas show is all God.  I showed up and wrote and directed it, but I really can’t take any of the credit.  The kids gave me a card last night, and, for some of them, it seems I am changing their entire perspective on life.  They are waking up and seeing the beauty around them they have never seen before.  God is using me to wake people up and help them find their freedom.

Yet, I don’t feel like I do anything but be me.

And it isn’t difficult to be me.  I remember when it used to be insanely difficult to be me, perhaps I wasn’t entirely sure of who I was back then.

My card was full of phrases like, “Never stop being you,” or “Thanks for being you.”

What an honor!  What a joy!  What a gift!

I am being thanked for doing the only thing I know how to do: be me.

And here is another day to laugh, to smile my crooked smile, and love those around me.

God is beautiful!

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

Tonight was wonderful.  I talked with Jeremy and Robin on the phone last night.  They are two teenagers from the youth group who had gotten into a little word fight at school concerning the youth group and their spirituality.  I was on the phone with them for hours.  They play Adam and Eve in the play, and have to get close, so things weren’t good.  I gave a little talk before practice tonight, an hour and a half long talk, about living in harmony.

I used many illustrations, even read from my journal, and I let the others talk.  Others opened up and everyone had a cry fest about all the transitions we’ve been through recently.  God healed our body, our team.

And tonight, when I got home, Christin called me up to say thank you for tonight and that I was very special to her.

Then David called and we talked about the evening.  He said the most amazing thing.  He said that he was concerned about Tammie and Jose leaving because they were a couple and that Tammie helped nature the girls.  He said he was in his office, praying, asking God to bring him some women to help in the youth group.

“Bring me another Tammie, God,” he prayed.

And he told that when he was walking down the hall in church one day, he passed me by, and God said to him, “There’s your Tammie.”

Isn’t that amazing!?

It all makes since now.  God called me here for this season to help be a spiritual mentor to these girls.  Veronica, Jenna, Tenielle, Christi, Rya, Amy, Cheryl, Jeni, Tracey, Abigail, Ann-Marie, Lindy, Hannah, Laura, Sarah, they were all to help bring me here and prepare me for this time of ministry.  God has been teaching me.

He knew what he was doing all along.

You are so perfect God!

October 10, 1998 – Saturday – 12:30 a.m.

It’s past midnight.  Memories haunt me.  Faces, smells, and touches.  I am missing Lees-McRae.

Hard to believe it has already come and gone.

I talked to Tracey tonight.  And for the first time since she has returned to Lees-McRae, I tried to call Sarah.  I woke up her roommate instead and Sarah wasn’t there.  Elizabeth said she would have her call me.  It is Homecoming weekend there.  I’m afraid tonight I may lie awake waiting for her to call, but I know she never will, just like she never did so many nights that I waited in McAllister Dorm.

I fear God has created me to just drop me into a place for a season, then I’m off to somewhere else.

We live to communicate, but most of that is just us asking questions.

I can’t get to sleep right now.  I’m wondering what God is up to.

Why is he so good to me?  Why does he like to blow the wind through my hair?  Why am I constantly studying the shapes, angles, and beauty of every girl’s eyebrows?

Look where I am now.  This is one heck of a ride, but the ending is all that matters.

Words are losing their value.

All except these three:

Jesus loves me.

September 20, 1998 – Sunday – 8:28 p.m.

My life has gone on a crazy ride recently.  To begin, my Communication Theory class blew my mind.  God is definitely using this class to deal with the way I think and see the world.  Perhaps I’ll go into detail with that later.

I worked Wednesday afternoon and that night we had drama practice.  It went okay, but these kids really have no idea of how to do this thing, but I guess it’s my job to teach them.  Nevertheless, we all had fun.

Sometimes at Regent I feel like I just don’t fit in.  There is a Law School and a Theology School and I feel like some of those students in their suits walk by and judge me and my duck-taped sandals.

I worked all day Friday, it was a bit rough.  I just wasn’t happy with all that was around me.  But once I got off work, all that changed.

Dawn, a coworker, needed a ride home.  She’s insanely beautiful and a lot of fun, she actually reminds me Emily.  Well, I was taking her home and she wanted to stop and get some pepperoni rolls at a nearby bakery, so we did.  We ate there together and talked and it was just simple fun.  I shared a meal with an insanely beautiful girl and sometimes that is all a man needs to make it through the week.  We drove to her house, and I was just being me, you know the one that often feels like he doesn’t fit in at Regent, and she was just cracking up a storm, telling me I was the funniest thing in the world.

Thank you Dawn!  You saved my life that day.

Then, I went back to Regent to watch some of the student films that were being screened.  I saw three and they were all pretty good.  Then I left to go watch One True Thing at the Regal Cinemas.  That movie changed my whole perspective.

One day, my own mom is going to start dying.  I love her so much and that day is many years away, but still, we will all die one day.  And the movie taught me that I have so much here in Virginia Beach to love and care about.

I haven’t been doing that well enough.

I cried the entire way home from the movie.  I just a big baby in the car.  I didn’t like who I was and I wanted to change.  I asked God to forgive me.

I arrived home, slept, and got up early yesterday morning and left with some members of the youth group to go to King’s Dominion.  I spent most of the day with our leaders Tammy and Jose, as well as Kimberly and Lauren.  Kim is 15 and Laura is 13 and we eventually split off and it was just Kimberly and Lauren and me.  And I had the best day with those two.

I just loved whatever was around me.  Kim and Lauren and I talked the entire day.  I was a 22-year-old graduate student who got to feel 14 again.  God was giving me a gift and I was reminded of who I was and what I’m called to.  God knows me better than I know myself.

Kimberley reminded me a lot of Ryan, my first crush, and Kimberley said I make everything so much fun that she wants to do everything with me now, even shopping.  Lauren was an absolute sweetheart and I now have two dear new friends.

What a lovely thing that is, a friend.

One True Thing revealed to me how I had needlessly complicated my life.  I’d forgotten about the simple sounds, simply joys, simple tastes, and simple smiles of the good life.

On Saturday, September 19, 1998, I became young again.