August 10, 1997 – Sunday – 4:05 p.m.

Marisa turns 15 today.  I turn 21 in a week.

Dan has gone home.  The place feels empty.  This next week I will move to McAlister; I’ll have a smaller apartment with one less room than this one.

It just started to rain.

For the next hour and a half, I’ll exist quietly in these three rooms.  I will listen to slow and soothing music, and I will read and write.  At 5:30 p.m. I will go back to the box office to sell tickets and I’ll enjoy the show again tonight.

Jeanine will sleep in here tonight since her mom is visiting and will take her bed.

RD training begins on Monday and I will also check everyone out of Tennessee Dorm between Monday and Wednesday.

Children of Eden ends tomorrow.  Lindy and I began with three full ticket racks and now we are nearly empty.  Everyone has loved this show.

My final year of college is so close.  How different it will be.  My rounds will now include seven buildings instead of just two hallways.  I will tackle directing and horseback riding.

So my simple and relaxing summer will soon end and I will never live in these walls again.  What have these walls seen?  Jeni and I kissing.  Dan and I wondering.  Charlie crying over Kate.  And me watching Sherlive as she slept.

The summer of 1997.

Nothing ever stays the same.

Charlie and I went to see Conspiracy Theory last night.  I enjoyed it.  I helped Charlie in Junior Worship this morning and ate with Tracey and her family plus Lindy and Ann-Marie at the Banner Elk Cafe.

It’s difficult for me to remember who I was before Lees-McRae.  I almost feel like my senior year will be the last year of my life.  Leaving this place seems close to death.

But surely there are no real goodbyes among Christians.

It’s 4:45 p.m.

Am I still living in my youth?  Or are those days gone?

4:47 p.m.

And so…well…

Weird, huh?

 

July 30, 1997 – Wednesday – 12:20 p.m.

Last night after I wrote in my journal, almost everyone from Tennessee Dorm, plus Charlie and Allen, went to Macado’s.  Charlie, Allen, Jeanine and I sat at a table together and had some good laughs.

I leave for Chrysalis in the morning.  I have no idea what this thing is, but I guess I will by Monday.  I’ve heard of people going on these retreats and Rachel always talks about it, so I guess I just have to see for myself.

I want to grow close to Sherlive.  She has totally captured my thoughts.  How crazy that a girl can just show up out of the blue.  I want God to be the center of our relationship.  I want us to bring people to the Lord together.  The world needs Jesus and I like the Jesus that I’ve met in her as well as the Jesus that is in me.

July 29, 1997 – Tuesday – 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday.  Two days without Sherlive, but my thoughts have been filled with her.

I washed clothes this morning.  Worked, or rather laughed, with Lindy in the box office and then came back and washed dishes.  I read my Bible and a Max Lucado story this evening, then Dan, Vince, Charlie and I went to a nearby pastor’s house.  Dan had brought some chemical or something back from West Virginia and he wanted to make something called a potato gun.  He said the chemical was illegal in all the other states except for West Virginia.  But we didn’t have any potatoes, so the idea was to borrow some from this pastor with a nice garden.  Once we entered his house, his wife asked us if we wanted some dinner.  We said, “No, but we would like some vegetables from your garden.”  And they were more than happy to give us some.

They didn’t have any potatoes, but they had tons of zucchini they wanted to part with.  So, with our hands full of more zucchini than we could ever eat, we drove to the football field on campus and Dan got out this pipe and I don’t really understand what happened, but they stuffed one end with a zucchini, and the other end was full of this chemical, a bit of water and then Dan was holding a flame at the bottom.  Nothing was happening and we were all saying he was full of crap, but all of a sudden…BOOM!!!

We had just shot a zucchini halfway across Banner Elk!  It was a super loud explosion.  Dogs started barking all over town, lights were coming on in all the houses, and I’ve never been so scared in my life so I just immediately started running across the field to hide somewhere; I was sure the cops were coming to take us away for life.

But I had totally forgot that Dan had given me his keys for some reason and I had stranded them there since I ran off.  Luckily Dan had a spare key under his car in a magnet box, but it took them forever to retrieve it.

We finally met up and they kept making fun of how fast I ran away.  I guess it was pretty funny, but I was seriously terrified at the time.  I’ve already been arrested once in this town for trespassing.

. . .

I talked to Rachel tonight and I leave for Chrysalis Thursday morning.

While in the box office today, I called the church and asked for the number of a family that lives in TN, hoping they would have a phone book for that region.  They did and I asked them to look up Denny, Sherlive’s dad’s name.  They found it and I now have her phone number.  I haven’t called her yet, but I might if she doesn’t show up for church tomorrow night.

I see Sherlive and I getting close, but this is her freshman year and my senior year.  I’m kinda scared.

Truth:

This is not my home.

Sherlive is not mine.

She is God’s, as am I.

God comes first.

Otherwise, nothing else will work.

Heaven is in the end.

Heaven is a secret.

A secret allowed to be told.

I must tell that secret.

Secrets are secrets because they are true.

. . .

July is ending.

The month of change awaits.

Change is hiding under my bed.

Awaiting to take me in the night.

I will change rooms, age, and class.

Voices, eyes, smiles, they are killing me.

I fight, live, and die for them all.

They come and haunt me.

I feel Sherlive understands this loving pain.

And that is what burns inside of me.

I no longer know what to write.  I can’t write all of my thoughts for some of them are secrets.  Secrets like heaven and they too don’t have words.

July 11, 1997 – Friday – 8:00 a.m.

We leave today at 2:00 p.m. to spend 24 hours at Deep Creek near Bryson City, NC.  I just read about my last Deep Creek trip two years ago with Syndi.  We sure knew how to have fun.  I was her “hubby” for that trip.  Each time I visit, I stand above that never-changing scene next to the Pizza Hut in town.  And there I seem to let everything go.  I say goodbye to the previous year and I feel good about leaving it behind in my Book of Days.

Three years ago on this date I was arrived in Deep Creek.  I thought I was there to say goodbye and I did in a way, but I said goodbye to the Deep Creek of the past.  Now I go with a different group of people and with different friends.

Because, I am different.

Lees-McRae and Banner Elk are now a part of me and they have changed me.  This is who I am.  And I have to let it go at the small cliff near Pizza Hut, cause I have to move away in less than 10 months.

I fear my youth is leaving me.  I watched Citizen Kane yesterday.  His childhood was stolen from him.

“Deep Creek” may very well be my “Rosebud.”

July 8, 1997 – Tuesday – 10:30 p.m.

Okay.  So, Kate has been taking guitar lessons from Paul, a 23-year-old married guitar player at church.  They’ve become good friends and Kate supposedly had a crush on him.  Charlie confronted the issue and that seems to be the main reason they broke up.  His wife Sharon doesn’t know, and I’m sure nothing actually happened between Kate and Paul, but it doesn’t look good.  Charlie is really hurting, hates Paul, loves Kate, and has even confessed to suicidal thoughts.  He’s even thought of killing Paul.  The house he was renting sold, so he’s living with a family who has a huge collection of shotguns in their living room and Charlie just sits there staring at those guns.

Things aren’t good.  But the Lord reigns supreme.  Charlie is just heart broken.

To my surprise, Sherry has enrolled back in school for the summer.  I haven’t seen her since December.  She asked me out to a movie some night this week.

Jeni and I had another talk.  She said she always felt responsible for how close we had gotten physically when we were a couple since she unbuttoned her own shirt while kissing me.  I told her it was both of us.  She also bought me flowers as a way of saying “thank you” for letting her stay with me this past week.

Abigail came up again.  Her and the girls have gone up to Cincinnati for a while.

I discovered online that the Rebecca St. James concert is sold out for this Sunday.  I didn’t even know they sold tickets in advance.  That’s bad news, but I think we’ll still make it to Deep Creek this weekend.

All seems to be well except for Charlie.  And it seems Vince and Laura got things worked out, so he says, so they are still together.

And here I am, alone, writing about my friends.  I wonder if any of them are writing about me.

June 28, 1997 – Saturday – 4:30 p.m.

I have a short break from the box office.

Abigail came to visit her circle of friends today:  Ann-Marie, Jeni, and Tracey.  They all came by the box office.  I hugged her.  I have gotten taller I suppose, for I had to reach down further than before.

It is cloudy outside now.  I walked to Allen’s room this morning.  It seems as though Lees-McRae College and Banner Elk do not really exist.  It seems as if this place will vanish after I leave.  As if all of this came into existence just so I would have a place to live for four years.  I know it’s not true and I know it’s strange, but still, I feel as though this place is mine.  But perhaps that is what the world needs, more people like me, who truly feel at home.

But yesterday I met so many new freshman.  It saddens me that I will not be here for their entire four years.  It doesn’t matter that I am remembered after I leave.  It only matters that I will remember this time and this place.

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.