March 28, 1998 – Saturday – 11:40 a.m.

AH!!!!! I don’t understand!!

Yesterday at 5:00 p.m. the school had a cookout at Wildcat Lake.  Sarah was there.  We smiled at each other and when it was time for a big group picture, she stood by me and put her head on my shoulder.  Then we walked back to school together and told each other the coolest stuff in the world; she hadn’t talked to me like that in months and she did it while holding my hand.  We stopped and watched the sunset through the trees and stared at each other.

This is all I’ve been wanting from her, yet she chooses to give it to me after I supposedly let her go?  Why?  Why now and not before when we called ourselves a couple?  Why can’t she make any sense?  Are all women this way?  Why can’t a woman just mean what she says?  Why can’t her actions line up with her emotions?

I love women so much and I want to meet one and marry her, but man, if this is how a woman’s mind works, I’m in for a boatload of pain and heartache.  It’s not that hard!  You know you who are and you share it with others.  You don’t lie, you don’t manipulate, you don’t guilt-trip!  You just treat the other person you supposedly love with the respect they deserve.  It’s just basic logical reasoning; are women incapable of that?  Is it not in their DNA?

Oh Jesus, heal my heart and show me the truth.

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March 15, 1998 – Sunday – 10:55 p.m.

I’m in Beattyville, Kentucky with Vince, Allen, Justin, Alex, Charlie, Kate, Sherlive, Shannon, and Ellen.  We are here working with Habitat for Humanity.  I’ve been asked to keep a detailed journal while on this trip, so I’ll try my best.

In a way all of this is ridiculously hilarious.  The guys are sleeping in a prison next to an inmate that is technically “in jail” but still gets to come and go as he pleases, and the girls are sleeping at the habitat house with a bunch of other girls with safety pins and other such nonsense pierced in their faces.  Three of the guys comedically made a competition out of who would be able to kiss the first girl while on this trip, but after seeing the girls here in eastern Kentucky, they quickly called everything off.

An older version of the briefcase boy at school is one of the “in-charge” guys at the habitat house.  If he becomes an important character this week, I’ll simply refer to him as Vista for a hilarious reason only our group of ten will understand.

Herman is the other guy’s name.  We’ll meet up with him at nine tomorrow to start working.

As for tonight, we went to Beattyville Christian Church, a nice country church.  The girls are having second thoughts about staying with the safety-pin head chicks, so the church will consider giving us their activity center for the week.  This is where we are now.  There is a drum set and our group brought a total of four guitars.  Constant noise surrounds me.

We’ve met some neat people and this church has welcomed us like Christians should and like Jesus would.

The surroundings are different though.  These mountains aren’t like western North Carolina mountains.  This is old coal mining country.  It feels very poor, whereas our region of North Carolina is covered in the wealthy summer houses of rich Floridians.

I’ve been in a quiet mood since we left Banner Elk.  I guess I just know all of these friends are about to vanish from my sight after graduation and I just try to linger in the fleeting moments of appreciated them.

I feel so different from everyone, yet we are all alike in so many ways.

We all have fears.  We all have loves.  We are all sinners, and we have all been forgiven.

Oh, and we all have eyes, very deep eyes.  I feel as if these new eyes here know a pain I have never known.

February 6, 1998 – Friday – 11:50 p.m.

Today has been one heck of a day in the neighborhood.  My Directing II lab was crazy because Geana decided to just go wacko on me.  She has no sense of self worth and gets hurt by the smallest things.  I was just talking about my own desire to save sex for marriage and she just lost it.

Then, around 12:30 p.m., while I was checking my mail, I found a new Freshman named Elizabeth lying sick on a sofa.  I took her to the hospital and stayed with her for nearly three hours.  It turns out she has a urinary tract infection, but we had a nice time to get to know each other.  She’s amazing, but has much to learn; as do we all.

God has been using these people here to teach me so much.  Lindy and I have been calling each other brother and sister and we’ve had some amazing talks recently that last hours long.

Even Sarah and I seem to slowly be getting better.

And Emily and I have written poetry back and forth to each.  Weird huh?  My true Emily hasn’t written me in a while, and now I wonder if this Emily will also become a lifelong pen pal.

I just love being around women. Even when Geana looses it, I’m still learning something.  Sarah, Lindy, Elizabeth, Emily, such young and amazing women and they take the time to let me share my life, my heart, and my thoughts with them.

I firmly believe women are the greatest thing on this planet and they are keeping all of us sane.

January 22, 1998 – Thursday – 11:15 a.m.

My auditions were last night.  I had an amazing time.  So many talented girls came to audition, it was difficult to decide.

Also, Geana came and talked with me yesterday.  She is full of so many sad stories; she was raped when she was 17.  I talked and prayed with her.  She cried.  She is so focused on outer beauty and her body.  She condemns and insults herself all the time, and she uses sex to try and feel love.  My heart hurts for her.  Oh God, please visit with her and help her.

Lindy, Ann-Marie, and Abigail came to hang out with me yesterday evening and they stayed until one in the morning.  We had what we called a “tear party” for we all seemed pretty emotional, and God showed up in the sharing of our hearts.  Lindy shared about how she gave up her virginity in high school.  She said that guy now had something of hers that she could never get back.  She looked so sad, like she would do anything to remake that decision she made so long ago.  And because of that, she said she’s put up her guard and has been very careful about letting others love her.  She has done the same to God and I told her last night that she needs to let him love her to his fullest ability.  She cried.  I held her.  I cried.

I also spoke to them about how Geana said that all she wanted was to be sure that somebody loved her.  I shared that such a perspective confused me, for I now realize that God loves me way more that I will ever deserve, so I really have no right to ask for any more love from anyone.

Now for me to keep all of that love and not let it flow through me and give it away to others, that is the true tragedy.

I talked to Sarah from the time they left until 2:30 in the morning.  We had an amazing talk, she too shared so much with me.

I now think that there is nothing more difficult in life than being a girl.  And the thing that makes it most difficult for them are men, or boys, I guess I should say.

Sarah told me that she doesn’t think she’ll ever find anyone like me ever again.

Am I really that different?  Am I really that rare?  Are other guys my age spending most of their day talking with young women about the core of who they are?

I love you Lord!  Why are you so good to me?

January 17, 1998 – Saturday – 11:00 a.m.

Okay, never mind.  I wasn’t way off.

Yesterday, Friday the 16th, was a record-breaking day for five girls came to my room and talked to me about their romantic pursuits.

First was Geana.  We talked about sex because she and her boyfriend have sex.  She knows the Bible teaches against it, but she says with him it doesn’t feel like a sin.  She was in a car accident about five years ago where she suffered brain damage.  After that, she said her thinking changed and started doing things she would have never done before.  She seemed confused and admitted as much.  I told her that if the love was true, both would stop having sex, guard their hearts and bodies, and get married.  She seemed to see the logic in that.  She’s an interesting and weird girl.  After telling me all this stuff, she then took a nap on my sofa for an hour.

And while she was asleep, Sherlive called.  She called to talk to me about Vince for she is but another girl who is crazy about him.  I told her he was still confused about Laura and to just be his friend, but to also not be a stranger.

Then, Jessica came over and we talked about her and Allen.  They went on a midnight hike at the beginning of the semester and she now likes him and wanted to know if I knew how he felt about her.

The next girl was Emily, not my pen pal, but Emily from the theater department, who plays the prostitute I have the underwear scene with in Cuckoo’s Nest.  She wanted to talk about her confusing feelings towards Timothy and AJ.

And then the last girl to desire my company and advice was Sarah, my girl, and we got to talk about us.  Thursday night, over the phone, she told me that she had a present for me, “a special present,” she added.

“Well, I’m excited,” I said.

I saw her around lunch time and we smiled brightly at each other.  I called her while Geana was asleep only to find her crying.  She said she was an emotional wreck, but that she had to go to class.  I told her she was beautiful and that I loved her.

At dinner, she was still a little weird and I told her I would look her up after rehearsal.  After rehearsal Sarah, Mason, and Jessi went to rent a movie.  I watched it with them in Mason’s room with half the freshmen Performing Arts students, but Sarah never acknowledged I was there.

I was on duty and I got a call over the radio, so I left to deal with that and never returned.  I went to my room, put on Hymn by Jars of Clay, then put it on repeat, and began to read the Gospel of John.  While reading, a peace came over me.  I have been praying for a while now for God to teach me to love like he loves.  And I realized that he answered my prayer through Sarah.  He showed me how much it hurts when he loves those who do not even acknowledge or look at him.

When I got to the second chapter, there was a knock at my door.

Sarah came in.

She sat on the floor, by the sofa I was sitting on, and laid her head upon me.  I put my arm around her and ran my fingers through her hair.

She began to cry and she didn’t stop until she left, which was about an hour later.

My eyes shed no tears.

She eventually spoke.  “You see a beauty in me that I have yet to see.  I see how much you love and care for me and its the scariest thing I’ve ever known.”

“You ought to be me,” I smiled.

“I just don’t know what to do.”

“Do you want me to let you go?”

“Not completely.”

“I know not completely, but enough where we don’t have to pretend to play this little game?  I can’t stop loving you Sarah, but I can stop trying to show it.  And you know that I’m here if you ever need someone to hold you.”

She continued to cry.

“I’ve known you’ve felt this way for a long time,” I told her, “I just wanted to be come and tell me.”

“I didn’t want to hurt you.”

“You couldn’t hurt me.”

“I don’t want you to have to need me.”

“Sarah, I needed me to love you more than I ever needed you to love me.  What has happened between us is a beautiful thing.  God has told me to love you now, because we both will need it later on.  Please don’t feel guilty.”

We looked at each other for a while.

She broke the silence with, “It’s not like I don’t love you, I do, and you know I’ll always be here,” she placed her hand on my chest, “but I’m just not ready.”

More silence passed.

“I had a cross necklace that I wanted to give you, something that I’ve had for a while that has been very special to me, but it feel out of my pocket today and I lost it.”

The tears poured from her eyes.

“I’m sorry.” I said.

After a few eternal silent moments of unending eye-contact, she finally kissed me on my cheek and said, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”  I said.

December 7, 1997 – Sunday – 11:00 a.m.

I am on duty, so I couldn’t go to church this morning.  I slept in on this morning and basically just abided in the Lord’s presence and thought about Him and my life.

My how things have changed.

Over the past five years my thoughts have changed from Veronica to Ryan to Christi to Jenna to Tenielle to Jeni to Christi to Syndi to Laura to Abigail to Jessica to Sherlive to Abigail and now to Sarah.

I called Marcus yesterday.  We had a great talk and I told him about Sarah.  He was amazed.

Sarah and I were at the basketball game together yesterday.  We talked about some pretty deep stuff last night.  She has so many stories inside her.  Some sad, some happy, some romantic, some hilarious.  And she is slowly telling all of them to me.

Our relationship is not a “boyfriend/girlfriend” relationship.  It is a “God has allowed us to share our existence together for a short while” relationship.

I am happy and very content.

I don’t see the other girls as much these days.  But like I said, “things change.”

Dan, Allen, Vince, Curtis, and Justin are the greatest guys in the world.  I’m living a wonderful life, and I’m living it for God.  Thank you for my salvation Lord!  Thank you for my life in you!  You are all that matters.

November 23, 1997 – Sunday – 1:00 p.m.

I haven’t stopped thinking about her since she left my room last night.

She came to me because she was sad.  She needed someone to talk to and she told me the story of her divorced parents and how she is split between them.  I held her.  She cried.  I prayed for her and she cried all the more.

I prayed for God to take all the pain, hatred, and unforgiveness away and to fill it with peace, love, and joy.

Then, after I stood there with my arms around her, holding her, as she cried on my shoulder, she took ahold of my hand traced a heart on my palm with her finger.  I saw her lips moving and, even though I couldn’t hear her, I knew she was praying for me.  She was asking God to bless me.  I could feel it.  She held my hand so tightly and I started to cry.

I’ve ministered to many hurting girls.  I’ve held and touched many and they all received my touch and prayer, but this is the first time a girl ever took the time to return the blessing; to return the affection.

She was hurting, she was in pain, and yet she gave.

Even now, it brings tears to my eyes.