April 28, 2000 – Friday – 7:53 a.m.

April is ending.  As are many other things.  I am no longer a full-time student, and Marie and I have just come through a really difficult time.

I think the past week really traumatized me, so much so that I can hardly remember the harsh words that were spoken to me.  I feel my mind is trying to forever forget them, like a scab covering a wound and allowing new skin to grow.  I’m tempted to not write about this at all, but I should put something down in these pages.

Clearly hurt and rejected after spending a week with my friends in North Carolina, a vulnerable Marie and I visited her family.  And while they are kind in action, I didn’t have a great time these past few days in New Jersey, one, because I was sick, and two, because there just wasn’t an abundance of joy and peace, at least not when you compare it to the amount of joy and peace in all my friends in Banner Elk.  So, once we headed back to Virginia, all of that pain and defensiveness bubbled up in Marie, and she became very critical toward me and of all my friends.

She said it was unnatural and immoral of me to have as many female friends as I do.  And, as if that didn’t hurt enough, she then accused me of only being involved with the youth group at Parkway because I was sexually attracted to all the girls in the youth group.  She said that my friendship with girls like Sterling, Christin, and Kimberly was inappropriate and that I should be ashamed of myself.

Much more was said, many more stabs were taken at my heart, but I pulled off the road, got out of the car and found a distant ball park, where I sat on the bleachers and stared off into the landscapes of Delaware, trying to make sense of what had just happened with this girl I want to marry.

I don’t know if I’ve ever been more hurt.  Sterling, Christin, and Kimberly and their families and I all adore each other.  We are fellow believers together.  They take care of me, I like spending time with them, and yes Christin crushed on me for a while, but nothing ever happened.  I took her to her prom and I didn’t even kiss her.  The whole reason I didn’t pursue a relationship with her was because she was too young.  I sat there alone for a long time, and eventually heard from the Lord that Marie’s accusations were false.

So, I returned to the car.  By the look on her face, it was clear she knew she was out of line.  She apologized.  We drove home.

I prayed silently as we drove, and God gave me a very clear answer that I love my friends, and the fact that many of them are women is not a sin.  What Marie said to me reveals much more about her heart and mindset than it did mine, and, after spending a week with her family, it’s clear to see that she was raised in such a negative and narrow mindset.  We both got to experience where each of us came from these past two weeks, and the fact that we both came from two different words really broke us.  She felt like she didn’t belong with my group of friends and possibly even felt like she doesn’t have as good of friends as I do, and I felt rejected by (and bored with) her family.

So there it is.  God is breaking us.  Or maybe he’s sharpening us.

Perhaps this will make us a stronger couple than we were before.  Perhaps we won’t be able to recover from this.  Time will tell.

June 22, 1999 – Tuesday – 8:40 a.m.

This camp is so wonderful!  I feel so fun and free.  We’ve called our team the Corn Bread Posse!  At service last night so many people were freed from sin and addiction.  I prayed with one girl who had a demonic manifestation before being set free.  God is so good.

Mary returned this morning.  She was away briefly so she could attend her brother’s graduation.  I met a couple of her friends.

I can’t emphasize how badly I needed these days.  I’m surrounded by so much energy, joy, and love.  Jesus is inviting me to a higher level of holiness, yet all the while every night is full of laughter.

Thank you Lord for this.

December 28, 1998 – Monday – 8:17 a.m.

I went to see Emily yesterday.  She looked different; she looked like Cheryl.  We sat out by her lake and talked, we drove around to meet the rest of her family and talked, and we went to a park in Crestview where we sat on top of an A-frame jungle gym and did the only thing we know how to do… talk.

We live in two separate worlds.  She is sun and I moon.  She is a fish and I am a bird.  How can we ever be together?  As sad as it may sound, I believe I have only been in love with the idea of Emily these past five years, for who she is in my mind is more amazing than who she is in person.  It is my perception that makes her so special and beautiful.

We may go out to a movie tonight, I am not sure.

But I have found contentment in our relationship.  This mysterious gift God has given to me through her these past five years has helped me endure some rough days.  Perhaps in some way I have been the same thing for her.  Perhaps that is our destiny for each other, to learn how God sees everyone as perfect, even when we are not.

Oh, how life brings many joys.

These have been relaxing days.  I’ve just been playing Zelda on the 64 during most of my free time.  It’s called Ocarina of Time, and it is the most wonderful game I have ever played.  It has been fantastic to just be free of all other work and just play that game.

I am looking forward to seeing Christin again.  She is a joy to me.  Bless her tonight oh Lord.

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!

February 13, 1998 – Friday – 6:00 p.m.

I got a call from Elinor at Regent University yesterday.  I’ve been accepted!  Thank you God!

I bought Sarah a funny Valentine’s Day card, plus three roses, and I put them in her room tonight while she was at a Highlanders’ Performance.  I hope she likes it.

The past couple of days have been relaxing and peaceful.  Rehearsals have been easy and last night we had our costume parade.  I had to stand in front of the whole cast and crew, under the bright stage lights, with nothing but a sheet around my waist.

After the rehearsal I went to Sarah’s room, and she just looked at me from across the room.

“What?” I asked.

“Well…you have a nice body, skinny boy.”  And she looked at me in such a way, and gave me a grin in such a way, that said, “Why didn’t you tell me you were so sexy underneath your clothes.”

I was obviously surprised.  I just view myself as a tall, skinny, lanky, awkward dude.

“Really?” I offered back.  “No one’s ever told me that before.”

And then I kissed her.

Our relationship has grown so much.  Thank you Jesus.  Thank you God.  Thank you Holy Spirit.

Elizabeth has become a really awesome friend.  We’ve begun to share our hearts with one another.  Thank you for her too Lord.

Life and love are all about giving.  It’s as simple as that.  Give all that you have.  Hold nothing for yourself.

When you live for yourself, you become lonely and cold.  Give your life away to everyone around you, and you will find yourself never lacking in joy and peace.

I guess this means I’ll have to give Lees-McRae away as well.

And in order to keep Sarah, I’ll have to give her away too.

 

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.

January 18, 1997 – Saturday – 6:30 p.m.

There’s something I’m not understanding.  I know I am a creation of God.  And I know that sin broke the original bond.  I know that Jesus’ blood has made a door that allows me to enter into the grace of God.

So, everything is complete.

But, I am being haunted.

Voices, eyes, smiles, they won’t let me break free.

Does one ever forget?  Or is this part of the joy?

I think now that God sees I understand the death of his son for a doorway into his grace, I believe he is now trying to show me why.

A day does not pass in which I don’t grow closer, in which a new angle is not seen, in which a soul’s eyes do not let me inside their true self.

A day does not pass in which I do not fall more in love with everything God created.

Souls have told me I have helped them become who they are.  Does that mean I have aided in their creation?

But perhaps an hour or two or a couple of years will pass and our two earthly souls haven’t been in fellowship, time and space prevents us from sharing those two very things.

Jesus died and rose in order to welcome us into his fellowship, both with him and everyone else, his bride, his grace, his glory, his everything.  Is he hurting when we are an hour or two away from each other?  Is he hurting when when two members that make up his bride can’t be together?

My collection is growing.

I know more souls now than ever.

I have seen more eyes now than ever.

I have created more smiles now than ever.

And I believe I am beginning to understand why he died.

I can’t imagine what it must feel like to give your own life for your creation…and they not even notice.

I am so sorry God.

November 8, 1996 – Friday – 6:00 p.m.

Snow is falling now.  The first of the season.  Tonight I am going to the movies with Abigail, Ann-Marie, Ray, and Jeni.  We are going to see Romeo + Juliet.  I haven’t been to the movies in a while.  I am excited.

I wish someone would look at me and offer me a special smile; a smile so innocent that we both instantly feel the chills down our spine.  I want to share love with someone.  But for now, I’m simply seen as that great Christian friend, but nothing more.

Even if no one stands by my side, I will press forward.  I’m surrounded by simple brief moments of peace and joy, and that is all I want.  I fear they come more often than I am able to realize.

Life is passing by me.  I sure do hope I’m noticing it.  I guess that is why I’m writing in this Book of Days.  It is only for me.  I doubt anyone will ever read these words.  But it helps me remember what is really important.

Heaven is real.

And sometimes I feel like it is already here.

January 13, 1996 – Saturday – 1:36 a.m.

Well…things are good.

My classes seem pretty hard yet fun for this semester.  My accounting class seems different.  Lisa was in it, but she dropped it.  She said the only reason she would have stayed in it was for me.

Thursday night, Charlie, Allen, and Vince and I stayed up until 3:00 a.m. just talking in my room.

We laughed so hard; we were talking about the strangest things.

Today my Speech and Acting II classes met.  Charlie and Kate and I have Speech together.  It should be fun.

This evening we rented Clueless.  I love that movie.  Afterwards we played basketball in the old gym.

There is more snow outside my window than I have ever seen in my whole life.

I can’t wait to go to church.

I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow.

Simply another day of pure joy.

 

October 1, 1995 – Sunday – 6:00 p.m.

My mom came up here this weekend to see the show.  Grandma and Aunt Sis were with her.  They took me out to eat and gave me some money!  It was good to see her.

Antigone ended today.  Kevin couldn’t make it, but I’ll see him later.  It’s beautiful outside today.  I am lying here on my bed, listening to the Legends of the Fall soundtrack.

It is peaceful.

I enjoyed Antigone so much.  I worked with such a great cast.  Everyone has complemented me on my work.  I have grown and learned so much.  They said I was born to be a comedian and to make people laugh.  They said I had talent and that it is going to take me far.

Antigone will never happen again, except in my memory.

Crystal, Clifton, and the Spradlings were there.  It was wonderful.

Dan, Vince, Allen, Curtis, and Jeff are turning out to be really good friends that I can possibly trust.  We hang out together all the time.  The other night we watched all three Star Wars movies back to back.

It’s October.

How far I’ve come.

Fall break is in 17 days.  I don’t know where I will be.

Last night Amy and I watched The ButterCream Gang.  It was great.  It is so wonderful hanging around her.

Simple little things happen each day.  So much so that I can’t write about it all.  Love and joy are all around me.  This land, these trees, these golden leaves, good friends, lovely girls…when did the world become so insanely beautiful?  I thought nothing could top my days with the Jason and the Emmanuel Players.  But perhaps these too are some of the best days of my life.