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.

May 30, 1997 – Friday – 5:31 p.m.

Last night Vince, Allen, Laura, Sharon, and Bob and I went to Hannah’s graduation from Crossnore Elementary School.  Crossnore is a public school, yet they handed out Bibles to the 5th grade class and said prayers throughout the service all night long.  They even pray every morning there.  It’s so nice to know there are still small corners of America that remain untouched by the world around them.

The program was great and it’s so awesome to see Hannah growing up right before my eyes.  I feel like I’ve been a part of her life.  She just lights up when she sees me.  She’s the greatest!

Nearly a year ago I was at another graduation:  Lee Senior for Ryan and Christi.  Christi is now covered in 2nd degree burns and Ryan is supposedly 17 miles down the mountain at App. State, but I have yet to see her.

I have not seen the sun for the past week.  We’ve been covered with rain clouds.

One more day remains in May.  1997 is nearly half over.

Sherry won’t be here this summer.  She left after the first semester last year.  Jeni, however, is doing the first summer theater show.  She says she wants to move here permanently.

Hmm.  Some leave and never say goodbye, and others you can’t seem to say goodbye to.

I really miss the Internet.  The computer lab isn’t open for summer classes yet.  I miss chatting with MovieMark.

I’m going to try to return to Siler City in the middle of July to see Rebecca St. James in concert.

And then I turn 21 nearly a month later.

May 28, 1997 – Wednesday – 10:45 p.m.

I watched Ben-Hur today.  I cried so hard.  Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!  I love you more now Jesus.

I also worked a little in the summer theater box office, getting it ready, etc.  Church was nice tonight.  Hannah has become a wonderful little friend.  She is 11-years-old now, the age Veronica used to be.  Oh, how young I must have been when I was 16.

We went out to eat after the service and I tried to pay for my meal, but Sharon wouldn’t have it.  That family has taken such good care of me these page three years.

It’s hard to know what to write these days.  Vince and Allen and I are the only ones on campus.  We have this whole place to ourselves it feels.  Dan will arrive in a little over a month.  Curtis may never return.

Charlie and Kate are still together and seem to be doing well.

I have been at Heaton long enough to watch people grow up and grow older.  And people there say that I am still getting taller.

Josh is in pain from his surgery and frequent doctor visits.  How I wish I could comfort him.

The view outside my window is not the same.  I now have six windows instead of one.  Three closets instead of one.  Two sofas and a chair instead of zero.  My own bathroom where my toothbrush is now kept, instead of in my closet.  I have keys that will let me into every room on campus.  I have been given power and responsibility.  It doesn’t feel like I’ve changed, but I know I’m not the same person I was when I first began keeping this journal.

There are no girls here to think about.  If I do think of one, it is Jessica, out in Colorado.  What a wonderful friend!

I need to shave.  My wisdom teeth don’t hurt as much.  Of course, they aren’t there anymore, but you know what I mean.  My teddy bear is still with me.  I didn’t get to see Jenna over the break, but I did see Emily oddly enough.

It’s funny how moments grow in value, the older and rarer they become.

I wonder who is thinking of me tonight.  Jessica has a new window to stare out of, new mountains all around her, but I simply moved to the other side of campus.

Eleven months and one week now.

Time.

We’re just measuring the first part of eternity.  Like one yard stick compared to the entire globe and beyond.  Similar to my holiness when compared to God’s holiness.  I hate to leave this place, but I know I must.  I need to go out and create new things.  To challenge.  To change.  To set free.  To teach others how to fly.

If I try to stay here in this perfect place, I know God will put sharp objects in the nest, painfully forcing me out.

What can be beyond here?

I’ll soon have new names to write in these pages.  New faces.  New stories who will join in with mine.  New paths.  Perhaps other red lights.  Perhaps…Her.

Prepare me God.

Prepare the place where I will land.  I give my life to the work of your hands.  Mold me.  Shape me.  Make me.

Thirty minutes until the 29th of May.

Nine years until I’m 29.

Seven minutes have passed since I lifted my pen from the number nine.

I can’t seem to think of an exit line.

Good night.

May 15, 1997 – Thursday – 10:15 p.m.

I am in Atlanta, Georgia.  Life sure is a funny thing.

We went to the revival in Pensacola at Brownsville Assembly last night, but for some reason they weren’t having a service on that Wednesday night, so I came back and watched a little TV.  I watched the series finale of Coach; it was very good.

We left this morning.  Ryan cried.  I don’t know what Curtis sees in that girl.  But I’m not sure I want to know.  Life is easier when you don’t understand everything.

The drive was hot and we passed by that bridge in Chambers County, Alabama where Marcus and I broke down in August of 1995.  I spent so many hours of hope and worry under that bridge.  Part of me will be trapped there forever.

Carla came over here tonight and we went out to eat.  She’s such a pretty girl.  I don’t know why Curtis treats her so badly.  Well, we had a nice talk.  We talked about city life versus country life.  I’m so glad I got to see her.

This trip has made me appreciate the home I have in Banner Elk.  It’s like I’m the king of the world there.  I can’t seem to go wrong there.  But I have only one year left.

I really miss Jessica.  She is just so simple.  She’s so fun and easy to get along with.  She makes so much sense to me.

I’ve grown too old.  I long to be young again.  I long to be childlike.  I want to find joy in simplicity.  I want to smile at each new step and each new second.

I am lying down on a foldout sofa in a home office on Cartsworth Circle in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.

How in the world did little me, a blonde baby boy who learned to crawl, walk, and talk in Germany, but learned of life and love in North Carolina, ever end up here?

May 12, 1997 – Monday – 6:00 p.m.

I called her at 3:00 p.m.  She sounded so good.  She is gonna meet me here tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.  We’ll spend the remainder of the day together.

I’m excited.  I’m nervous.

Emily.

Nearly four years.

I had no idea that the beautiful girl who walked across my campsite to take her little cousin to the bathroom would mean so much to me.

What a mystery this has been!

Will this ever be solved?

May 9, 1997 – Friday – 10:00 a.m.

On Wednesday I had a dentist appointment.  I’m gonna get four wisdom teeth removed on the 19th of this month.  Mom and I went shopping for some clothes for me.

Church was that night.  Pastor Steve seemed so happy to see me.  The church was full of strangers.  I’ve been away a long time.

Yesterday, I went to pick Kevin up in Fayetteville.  We drove around to look at cars; he needs to get one before he goes to Richmond.

That night we met up with Danny and Peter.  The four of us went Asheboro to see Liar, Liar.  We spent about an hour at the Golden Waffle eating and sipping on hot chocolate.  We’ve known each other for 15 years now.

Fifteen years.

Wow!

I’m concerned for them though.  They don’t know the Lord and come from a Hindu background.  They went to church with us when they were really little, and I remember Danny accepting Jesus at a Royal Rangers meeting, but now that they are in their 20s, it doesn’t seem like they believe anything.  Make yourself real to them God.  Use me.

Curtis just called me.  I’m flying out of Raleigh tonight.  I’ll meet him in Atlanta, then we’ll drive down to Florida in the morning.

For the first time, it is becoming difficult to call and visit old friends.  Marcus has come by to visit.  He is himself and wonderful, but it’s hard to go see Jenna and Tenielle.  I’m not sure that I want to see Jenna pregnant.  I would rather just thank God for my past and then move on into the future.  But I also know me, and I’m sure I’ll see them before I go away for another six months.

Another semester has faded into the past and I’d like to write down my most favorite moments from it.  These are not in any particular order of importance or value, they are all the same.

First, it was the moment right after our final Children of a Lesser God performance when I realized what I had accomplished.

Second, touching Abigail’s face.

Third, seeing the sparkling jellyfish at the Florida Aquarium.

Fourth, walking alone with the geese during the sunset in Ahoskie.

Fifth, sleeping out under the stars with Jessica.

And finally, those countless times when Vince, Dan, Allen, Curtis, and myself would lay around and talk about life, love, and other mysteries.  I may not meet my wife at Lees-McRae, but I already know I’ve found friends that will last a lifetime.

May 3, 1997 – Saturday – 11:50 p.m.

Jessica and I camped out on top of a small hill west of Hemlock Hill.  We didn’t sleep in a tent; we slept under the stars.  It was a beautiful evening where we ate an entire box of Wheat Thins and talked about the simple joys of life.  I don’t think I’ve ever known a more delightful girl.

On Friday, Vince and I moved some of my stuff into Tennessee dorm.  At 3 o’clock, I left with Amy and Derek to drive down to Charlotte where we visited Abigail’s family and saw STOMP.  It was a completely amazing experience.  I had a relaxing time just riding in the car and listening to music as well.  I haven’t had a car at all during these three years of college and I’m so thankful I haven’t.  To depend on others, to hear new music, to stare out the window as the car hums beneath me; oh I love it so.

I slept in this morning and Allen helped me move more stuff this afternoon.  We went to see Joseph again tonight.  Marjorie was there.  I’ve been running into her a lot recently.

Graduation is tomorrow.  I leave on Monday.  I believe mom and I will visit some family in Waynesville.

I’m only taking some clothes, my Bible, and my Book of Days home with me.  I don’t own much, but I don’t even want to bring that with me.  I’m leaving my stereo, music, and other stuff here.  I just want to see who I really am.  I don’t want to be around my usual surroundings for a while.  I just want me, the Holy Word, and a blank sheet of paper in this notebook.