May 10, 2001 – Thursday – 11:23 a.m.

Last night was a miracle. It was my first film festival. Dang screened to a packed theater in downtown Norfolk, and people were laughing. They were laughing so loud I heard a few people choke on their laughter. They were also quiet, and they listened. It was my movie that was playing, it was my script, my story, and the audience loved it. I won the audience award and another award; I have two statues forever to remind me of this moment. Lindy and Eddie came up to see it, and Anna was there with me. She looked beautiful!

An editor of feature films came up to me after the award ceremony and said, “In this industry there are people who try for it, they look for it, but never find it, but then there are people who were just born with it. You, you were born with it.”

This film has been a long journey. From all its real-life inspiration to all the acting and directing classes in both theater and film; it all culminated in this project that I’ve been working on here and there for the last two years. Thank you God for allowing me to be noticed and rewarded for the work that I put into it.

The festival plays again tomorrow night, and I graduate on Saturday. I graduated from Lees-McRae College three years this morning, and it is sixteen days until Anna and I marry. Life is very full at the moment.

But I know that I can’t live forever in last night’s glory and honor. It too will fade. More life is ahead. I’m marrying a beautiful woman. I’m honeymooning in my favorite land. I’m turning 25 in a few months.

And no matter what, heaven awaits.

April 30, 2001 – Monday – 3:50 p.m.

It is the last day of April. All the trees are full of green. I forgot how beautiful that was.

Tomorrow begins a month of complete and total change. Part of me will die. Part of me will be reborn.

The last half of this month contained some highs and lows. The weekend in Banner Elk with Anna was delightful. Everyone really seemed to enjoy her! On the other side, things have really turned sour at Forefront, and I am ready and eager to no longer work there. Anna and I feel spiritually dried up, for each sermon seems to focus more about being a cool and hip message on simply needing God. We just need something deeper.

I am applying for Resident Director jobs all over the country since I have some experience in that area. I pray something happens soon. I just want to run away with Anna and start over again in a brand new place.

I’ve been here for three very long years.

I was in Banner Elk for four extremely short years.

April 10, 2001 – Tuesday – 4:00 p.m.

I just got off the phone with Lindy, easily one of the best friends I’ll ever have. I feel like my insides are going to explode. Everything is coming to the most amazing ending, and an entire universe is beginning.

The week of the wedding is going to be full of complete emotional ecstasy. There is much history and so many stories that will collide together for the moment Anna and I join our lives together. I will pick Vince up from the Miami airport, then we will drive up the coast for four hours after not seeing each other for over a year. Nearly all of Lees-McRae and Banner Elk, NC is dying to see him, and he will be there in when they all arrive on Thursday for the wedding on Saturday. Over 15 Lees-McRae friends are making the 11 hour trip south. Marcus is coming, as well as Danny and Peter, they are all bringing friends along.

Abigail is going to sing. Tracey is going to play piano. Vince, Lindy, and Dan will be standing next to me. I’ll share the weekend with all my friends, then drive away with Anna.

Anna just showed up. Gotta go!

October 29, 2000 – Sunday – 4:38 p.m.

Well, it’s been an interesting, wonderful, and tiring few days.

Wednesday through Saturday I worked on Kerstin’s portfolio project “Exchange.” Being on that set for the past two days were particularly wonderful because Anna and I talked with each other like little kids. Anna is a theater student from Florida who arrived last semester. She’s the first person I’ve met here who has the personality of the girls I enjoy the most, those who just relax and delight in being with you as though they were a child. She reminds me of my dear friends from Lees-McRae. She’s a cool little hippie chick! I invited her to Forefront this morning, and she showed up! What a wonderful girl!

After the baptism service at church tonight, I’m going to go to a Wig Party at Haley’s. I’m wearing an old man wig. So there is this evening, and then only two full days remain in October.

Only two more months of the year 2000.

I wonder what November will hold.

December.

2001.

September 1, 2000 – Friday – 4:00 p.m.

I left after work last night and arrived here just before midnight.  So, ‘August and everything after’ actually begins here in Banner Elk.  Perfect.

Curtis and Megan and I stayed here in Dan’s new place.  I’m here now, just chillin’ and listening to Caedmon’s Call.

Mason and Marisa are back up here for school.  I went to visit Mason after Dan, Curtis, Allen and I went to Johnson City, TN to pick up our Tuxedos.  It was a fun little trip down the mountain.  I do love my friends.

While in Mason’s room I called Sarah, yes my old Sarah.  She came over and we found the time to go for a walk before she had to be in Highlanders.

The things we both said were beautiful.  She apologized.  I apologized.  We talked about rainbows.  I felt my heart beating loudly inside me.  I haven’t felt that in a very long time.  My eyes never left her as she performed during Highlanders.  Oh God, don’t let me get too weird while I’m here for this wedding.  You are changing Sarah, and I don’t want to get in the way.

The morning was spent with Dan’s family in a cottage near a place where I used to walk. I feel reborn.  I feel different.  I feel changed.  Thank you Jesus for this new beginning and may we do it again tomorrow.

Be with Sarah.  If it is your will, allow us to go for another walk again tonight.

Thank you for this weekend Jesus.  I love your forgiveness and salvation.

August 4, 2000 – Friday – 11:45 a.m.

I’m sitting on a slanted picnic table in a park near the Library and Community Center of Sterling, Virginia.  I left at 7:30 this morning to drive up here, because someone associated with a sister company of Acoustic Works is going to train me on Dreamweaver.

My meeting isn’t until 1:00 p.m., but I left early just to spend some time alone in a new town.  Three kids are playing loudly on the playground near me.  I’m glad they are happy.

I received Dan and Abigail’s wedding invitation in the mail.  It makes me both happy and sad.  Only Vince and I have yet to get married, and he is in Bolivia.

After Dan and Abigail’s wedding, I wonder if I should stop visiting Banner Elk.  I can so easily get stuck in the past.  It may be better for me to not see that land for a while.

. . .

I’ve sat here in silence for a while now.  I fear I have a broken heart.  I feel Jeni, Sarah, Emily, and Marie have each broken it in their own slight way.  But most of all, I feel I have broken it as well.

An older woman just brought two little blonde girls down to the playground, but then she turned around and walked away after she saw three Black kids playing on it.  And now the two white girls are sad and asking a bunch of questions.  They don’t understand why they can’t play.

Such a sight makes me so thankful I grew up with Marcus, Danny, and Peter.  And that I even had a Black youth pastor for a while.

Life seems to get harder as I grow older.  As a child, I would have never noticed the subtle racism I just experienced.

Jesus, you are my savior.  Am I living fully in your salvation?  Am I accepting all your mercy and forgiveness?  All I want is you.

When it comes down to it, I just want that treehouse covered in snow with the Braveheart soundtrack in my ear.  I want you all around me like that.

Can I have that everyday?

I just realized this is my second time in Sterling, VA.  The first time was with Rachel’s mom when she brought me up to Chrysalis in 1997.  In fact, that was exactly three years ago, for I remember it was in early August.

Is there any love left in me?

It feels like I’m losing all my friends.  I can never have Banner Elk and Lees-McRae again, so I should stop looking and waiting for it.

Do you still have a plan for me God?

Thank you for the leaf that just floated down and sat next to me.  I want more quiet moments alone with you.

Please don’t send me a girl if she’ll only distract me from you, or if I’ll distract her from you as well.  Too many hearts have been bruised.  I want to give all of my heart to you.

July 17, 2000 – Monday – 7:00 a.m.

I finally got to visit Forefront Church.  It meets in a movie theater on General Booth Blvd, closer to the beach.  It was so wonderful.  It was as though God himself was there welcoming me, for Kristen, the girl who starred in Dang! was there.  She was only there visiting for that one Sunday because she’s been doing Sight and Sound up in Lancaster, PA.  She was there to see her boyfriend Kevin, who leads a small group I hope to attend on Wednesday nights.  It was just to perfect to walk through the doors and see I face I know!  And it meets in a movie theater!

Two years ago I was in Africa.  Crazy!  Last year I had just returned from Los Angeles.  But this summer it looks like West Virginia is about as far away as I’ll go.  That’s okay, for I’m so excited about starting a new church life.

Yesterday evening, Jean from work and I randomly ended up walking around Buckroe Beach in Hampton.  She’s so cool; we have the nicest talks.  I’m thankful for her friendship.

God seems to be doing something with me, a new beginning, a letting go.  I see how he has to pull me away from Lees-McRae.  Keep me here to do your will God.  Teach this place and how to love it.

July 15, 2000 – Saturday – 3:40 p.m.

I’m not doing too well.  I sent Lindy an email, just explaining the sad condition of my heart, all I wanted was to be understood, but her reply was just telling me to shut up and get over it.

I feel those still in Banner Elk just don’t understand.  No one has left yet.  They are still surrounded by all their friends and they don’t know what it is to be alone in their 20s.  My best friends here are teenage girls (Sterling, Kimberly, Christin), and I have two nice colleagues at work (Dan and Jean), and I get along with my roommate Dan, but I really miss all the Regent film students.  I wish I could see them everyday like I used to, but I just don’t have class anymore.  I feel after I attend Dan and Abigail’s wedding that I should just let Banner Elk be.  It only hurts to try and hold on to it.

I don’t seem to make sense to people at work.  They make fun of me a lot, especially those who work in sales or who work in the warehouse.  Most of them are non-Christians.  Oh well.  It’s never really been any different, so I don’t know why it surprises me when someone thinks I’m odd.  It would probably more weird if someone viewed me as just an average dude.

I wish it was winter.  I wish it was Sunday so I could visit Forefront.  I haven’t been to a regular church service in so long.  I miss God’s touch.

July 2, 2000 – Sunday – 8:10 a.m.

Well, at four o’clock yesterday afternoon I decided to go visit Dan in West Virginia.  I’ve never been here before.  It is a beautiful place full of lovely mountains.  My drive up was amazing.

Dan grew up in this awesome cabin-style house.  We went up to the top of the closest mountain last night and saw satellites floating high above.  The stars were so beautiful; there was no moon.

Dan told me that he and Abigail had talked about me and said that I seemed weirder since I left Lees-McRae.

I guess they’re right.

God I just want you to make me who you want me to be.

So it’s the 4th of July weekend and I’m in West Virginia.  Life is making less and less sense.  All seems to be fading away.  I guess I should stop expecting any of this to make sense.

I want adventure.  I want memories.  I want family.

What is keeping me from you God?  I give it up.  Take it from me.

June 18, 2000 – Sunday – 4:07 p.m.

The week went by fast.  Work is fun.  Dan and I play chess a lot in the evenings.  Marie returns on Tuesday.

Trey, Kristen, and Mike took me down to North Carolina to pick up my new used car.  It’s a white 1992 Chevy Cavalier.  It drives nicely.

While there we visited Clay’s parents Barbara and Clyde, but Barbara wasn’t there, only Clyde and Eric.  Funny stuff happened, so funny that it can’t be translated and explained into these pages.

We walked along the railroad tracks near my old house.  Everything was so green and the fireflies were out.  I always thought I grew up in a flat land, but after living in Virginia Beach for two years, I now see how beautiful the rolling hills of my youth were.  Thank you God for letting me spend my childhood there.  It is such a perfect and precious gift.  No doubt you put those railroad tracks there just for me to have a clear path to wander down.

I am nearly 24-years-old now God.  I see now that you have never left me.  I am overwhelmed by your patience and beauty.

Trey, Kristen, Mike, and I stopped at a Starbucks in Chapel Hill on Franklin St. on the way back.  I’m so glad I didn’t go to a big state school like UNC.  Part of me is still trying to get over Lees-McRae.  Part of me is trying to succeed here.  And part of me just wants to relax and let all the days fade away.

I can’t believe it is June.  I miss Marie and just want to have a good conversation with her.  It has been difficult to have those over the phone recently.  She doesn’t seem comfortable talking with her parents there.

Time is passing.  But I will go on.  I work.  I write.  I read.  And I wait.

I also remember.  And I try to forget.