September 25, 1999 – Saturday – 2:10 p.m.

I’m in Lynchburg, Virginia!  Lindy should be here soon.  Chris didn’t come because he has to play drums at church in the morning.  So it’s just Lindy and I with front row tickets and everything!

I pitched a couple of five minute short films yesterday.  They went over really well.  I pray one will get selected and I get to direct it.  Each selected film receives a budget of $5,000.

All of my corporation stuff is finished.  I opened a bank account and everything.

Three pages remain in this journal.  The last time I was in Lynchburg was Thanksgiving with Vince and Allen back in 1998.  That was ten months ago.  The Virginian and American flags fly above me now.  I am on the Liberty campus.  DC Talk went to school here.  It is nice to be among the mountains.

Last night I went to a huge school-wide barbecue at Pat Robertson’s house.  It was really fun and I met and talked with a couple of girls named Bridgette and Christina.

As I reflect back on these past six months it seems like this book begins and ends with Lindy.  It is nice to have a good friend that expands space and time.  I’ve also been to Maine and California, I held a girl named Mary, and I started a motion picture production company.

So, Jesus, how are we?

Am I where you want me to be?

Am I free?

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September 20, 1999 – Monday -7:20 a.m.

The Lord delivered me from pains of loneliness last night at church.  Years and years of being separated off to the side because I was a little different, or saw the world differently, had really taken its toll.  Growing up, it was truly difficult to share my heart with people.  I was rejected many times.  God set me free from much of the hurt last night.

After church, I went over to Chris and Jason’s and we prayed for each other, went out to eat, and just talked.  They are of my same heart and vision and they are wonderful to talk with.

Kimberly and I went to see For The Love of the Game yesterday afternoon.  It was nice.  And Saturday I did my silent black and white film with Sterling’s family.  Adam and David helped me.  Kimberly even pulled focus a couple of times.  It was a fantastic time!

Thanks to Hurricane Floyd, we haven’t had class since Tuesday of last week.  The Caedmon’s Call concert is Saturday, and I’m going to the Pat Robertson cookout with Joy on Friday night.  Auditions for DANG! are next Tuesday and Wednesday.

It’s time to go to work.  I love you Lord.

September 16, 1999 – Thursday – 6:49 p.m.

This has been a lonely day even though I spent some good hours with Dan, Theresa, and Amy from the bookstore.  The power went out and we got together to play a board game.

I have a bit of a headache.  My neighbors above me have really heavy footsteps.  I wish it would snow, so I could feel quiet and clean.  I wish I could ride horses against a Kentucky sunset.

David, my roommate, is as introverted as Matt.  I knocked on his door earlier and asked if I could come in and he said “no.”  His door is always closed to me.

Abigail and Jeni have recently had birthdays.  September is half over.  Then only three months left.  Some days I get so scared.  It all seems so big.  But there are other days in which being alive is the easiest thing there is.

I had a neat conversation with a Greek named Bill last night.  I was the first to get deep into his soul since he’s come to Regent.  He told me I’m the first and only person he has met who seems well rounded in all the gifts.  I’m not exactly sure what that means, but it was nice.

I also pitched “To Fly” on Monday.  Afterwards I was complemented by so many classmates telling me I was an amazing writer.  Why am I still so lonely here?  Was I this lonely at Lees-McRae?  I must like the wide spaces the mountains provided, it gave my heart room to grow.

Jesus, it is so hard to share you.  I feel like you’re all mine.  It feels like you spend all your time with me.  How can you be in my room and in David’s as well?  How can your spirit pour while I’m at church and also while I’m alone?  Can you be the leader of this dance?

I don’t know where to take you that you haven’t already been.

 

September 11, 1999 – Saturday – 6:30 p.m.

The weather has been unbelievable recently.  I finished the shoot for the CBN feature on Thursday.  The piece was about a daughter whose boyfriend killed her mother and father.  It caused me to reflect.  I’ve come to notice the amount of pain and suffering my life has not seen.  No one truly close to me has died.

As autumn comes closer, I’m reminded of change.  This all seems to happen too fast.  I hate that I get too selfish.  I hate that it took me too long to love this place, and now it feels I’m about to leave it.  I wish I was more full of love.  I wish I wasn’t so picky when it comes to girls.  Is it bed to be satisfied with your love God?  I’m content with what you have given me.

So where do we go from here?  You died so that I might live.  Is that what I should do?  Live?  Love others?  Love you?  Love you by loving others?  Love others by loving you?

I can do that.  I can enjoy those within my proximity.  I can enjoy all the beauty.  I can see you in all of them.

 

July 22, 1999 – Thursday – 3:06 p.m.

I’ve been working on the summer film since Monday.  It has been fun, but tiring.  Jason and Brandon were extras last night and we met this absolutely beautiful 16-year-old Italian girl named Anna-Marie.  She’s really needs Jesus, hopefully she follow up on our invitation to church.

I took the convertible out and am now at Munden Point in South Virginia Beach.  It’s really pretty out here; lots of water.

I called Sarah the other night and she seemed excited to talk to me, but then she got another call and said she would call me back, but never did.  Typical Sarah.

Maryanne, a girl from Regent, got a three-day job as a Production Assistant on The Green Mile starring Tom Hanks.  I hooked her up with it since it is being film near Blowing Rock, NC.  She is going to stay with Lindy.  I’m kinda jealous, ha, ha!

It is a beautiful day and I’m alive.  I think I’ll go for a walk and just talk to my Jesus.

 

July 14, 1999 – Wednesday – 3:14 p.m.

It is the 14th of July in 1999 and what a day it has been so far.  God has out done himself this time to communicate something to me.  My, how I love and adore him.  Why does he take so much time to teach me about life and love?  Why does he concern himself with me so much?

There is a story I need to tell, one I should write in here, but it is a long one.  The Lord has taught me an amazing lesson in faith and love and grace through Mary.

She came and sat next to me for the rest of the plane ride into Norfolk.  She laid her head in my lap.  I played with her hair.  She rubbed my fingers against her lips.  And we talked.  We talked about how everyone had gotten so worldly after Santa Monica and how she seemed to have more faults than I had realized.  She said I had to accept her for the way she was.  I told her there must be something wrong with that attitude; that it just didn’t seem right, that it focused more on serving the self than it did honoring and respecting those we were in close relationship with.  After I said that, she let her guard down, and we actually got to have a lovely talk again.  She got off the plane in Richmond and I had a good feeling about our relationship; that it just might hold promise for the future.

Well, Sterling, Christin, Brandon, and Jason from the youth group picked me up at the airport.  I went to church that night and felt the Lord.  I worked on Monday and then spent the night at Jason’s house along with Brandon.  We had a great time.

Tuesday night, the Master’s Commission group came and we did a service at Parkway.  I attended and afterwards Sterling and Rebekah and I went to see Tarzan.

While at church, Mary and I talked a little sweet to each other and last night, before midnight, she called me from Erica’s house in Norfolk.  We talked until two this morning.  And… I just learned a lot about her past and who she is now and how no one else really knows her because they put her up on a pedestal.  I suppose I am guilty of that as well.

Mary’s mother left her when she was nine months old.  She grew up around her father and brother, which she said made her more cold-hearted.   She said her mother wasn’t an affectionate person and didn’t start seeing her again until she was 9-years-old.  She told me stories about sexual abuse from a family member and that she grew up in the church, but didn’t experience true salvation until she was 14.  But, in both high school and college, things went too far with some different boyfriends, and these experiences broke her completely.

When she confessed all this to me, my throat turned into a rock and my body began to shake.  I did have high expectations of who she was, or who I wanted her to be I guess.  I was disappointed in myself for setting such a high standard and for doing to her what everyone else has done: putting her up on an insanely high pedestal.  Our conversation got a bit funny and awkward and then the cordless phone she was on lost power and we got cut off.  We didn’t get to say goodbye.  I just went to sleep nearly in tears.

I went to work this morning and found myself playing our conversation over and over in my head.  After work, when I was running some errands, I felt the Lord say, “Go to Parkway.”  I did and the Master’s Commission team was there getting ready to leave for North Carolina.  I had no idea they were going to be there, so long story short…Mary and I got a chance to talk.

I was the first guy to come along since she broke things off with the previous guy and rededicated her life to God.  I was the testing ground of a newly healed and wanting-to-trust heart.  Through her story I have learned that there is not a perfect girl out there, but that we are all in the process of being made perfect through the love and grace of Jesus.

Mary and I have both been redeemed.  As has everyone else.

I do not understand it, I only accept it.

July 11, 1999 – Sunday – 10:10 p.m.

The events of the past four days seem very distant and foggy.  We’ve had plane trouble, so we are still at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.  Needless to say, things have been crazy.  Let me try to recap.

I did see Brandon and Sara and their little Madison at Disneyland.  Mary spent a little time with us.  It was so good to see them.  We took a break from the park in the middle of the day and I went with Brandon back to his hotel room.  Little Madison and I played together there.  We had so much fun!  She’s the cutest little girl.

Disney was a good time, and Mary and I were able to have some alone time there as well.  I saw the Fanstamic show that night.  It was really neat; such imagination!

Thursday we went about an hour east of L.A. to Fontana and spent the day with this youth church out there.  They treated us so kindly.  During that time Mary and I had a chance to talk, and we really opened up to each other, which may not have been a good thing.  I can hardly remember what was said now, but it was a sweet and precious time.

However, she has been acting really funny the past few days.  She’s been acting really selfish and her conversation used to be really Godly, but now it has been totally petty and pointless.  I’m not sure what happened, but when yesterday came, I was so ready to go home.

We went to Santa Monica and there the whole group just stopped acting like a group of Christians doing ministry and started acting really worldly; especially Mary.  I hated it.

After sunset we went to the observatory near the Hollywood Sign.  I needed to get away from everyone, so I slipped away and found a trail down to the left.  I sat there, finally alone and sang to my Jesus.  All of the man-made lights below me were beautiful.  I saw the entirety of the L.A. skyline and the surrounding areas and there the Lord and I had a special time above those 13 million people.  There were even fireworks off in the distance.

I thought about who I was and what I was supposed to do.  I thought about how Mary was perfect for me on some days and totally wrong for me on other days.  I thought about the homeless woman I saw try to kill herself by laying down in front of an on-coming train.  And I thought about how natural it felt to be in L.A.  Finally, I thought about how thankful I was that I’d soon be leaving.

Last night, before we left the observatory, we had a time of reflection where everyone went around and said goodbye to me and shared their feelings about me.  I’m leaving the team when we land in Norfolk, but they have another couple of weeks together.  They all said very sweet things, things I’ve heard others say about me before.  The greatest compliment though was that I not only taught them the Masks drama, but that the example of my life revealed to each member of the team the mask that each of them was hiding behind.  They told me that I have a wisdom unlike any they’ve ever encountered.

I shared with them how hard it was to strip my soul bare for every new group of people, but that doing so also continually helps me and keeps me open; though sometimes it feels like it nearly destroys me.

. . .

So, I’m in the air now, flying far above both land and clouds.  I don’t know about Mary and I, except that I will try to keep in touch through email.  I’m looking forward to getting some things together and organized for the next year of school.  I hope to visit some Lees-McRae friends during the first couple of weeks in August.

Thank you for these days sweet Jesus.  Thank you for molding me and for fixing me.

And thank you Mary.  I will remember L.A.