June 21, 1997 – Saturday – 12:10 p.m.

People change.

Life is strange.

Tracey has become a rude and hurtful individual, especially to Jeni and myself.  The people who occupy this summer theater residence hall are talented, but my heart goes out to them.  They simply don’t know truth, and it doesn’t seem they want to.

As an example there is Mariesa from Florida, near Miami, and her brother Mason, soon to be a student at LMC, plus their mother Dana.  To them, church is a place to catch up on sleep.  I spent some time with Mariesa in the computer lab.  She’s funny and pretty on the outside, but totally lost.

They have a condo up on Sugar Mountain and I went up there with Jeni and Tracey and a few others.  I found joy by playing with their camcorder and walking alone on the ski slope.  But as we were leaving, Jeni backed her car off the road.  It took all of us, plus an hours worth of time, to push it back on.

I am not appreciated by many people here.  I am looked over.  And that is good.

Allen, Vince, Dan, Curtis, Jeni, Jessica, and Sharon and her family are the ones I share my life with.

I called Regent University in Virginia Beach.  They are sending me an application and information on their film school.

I do not know what the summer of ’98 will bring, but by the beginning of September I will be creating a new home.  God is preparing me to leave Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, and Avery County.  My time here will always be treasured, but I must move on.  These friends here will last forever, but I must move ahead.

I give this life to my Holy Father.  I don’t want to live it on my own.  There is so much I don’t understand, but I know he does.

Here I am.  That’s all I know how to say.  Here I am.

June 15, 1997 – Sunday – 9:15 a.m.

Yesterday was one of the best days of the summer so far.

I was aloud to eat breakfast in the cafeteria that morning since I worked Orientation.  I ate with two different families.  They asked me questions about the school and about me.  It was fun talking to them.

For the rest of the morning I sat at a desk and checked people out of their rooms.  I helped a mother measure her daughter’s room to she could hang curtains for her, then we ate lunch together.  There was a drawing for a $200 scholarship.  I drew the name and it was Monica from Houston, Texas.  She was happy and thanked me.

After lunch, I drove her and Amber to Johnson City, TN.  I had such a wonderful time.  Our drive was really nice.  We talked the whole hour and a half drive.  Amber is engaged and Monica has a crooked chin like me.  I felt so comfortable with them.  We had a nice time to spare, so we went to the mall.  Monica bought some CDs and we looked at some tennis dresses.  Some were hanging up high and we couldn’t reach them, so Monica bent down on one knee and I tried to jump up off her other knee, but I missed and knocked a whole bunch of other clothes down.  We all had a great laugh.

We ate lunch in the mall and had 11 cent ice cream cones.  Amber and Monica were amazed at how nice people were here.  They were impressed with how nice I was.  They really seem to love the simplicity of the land.

We put a quarter in the little machine that would tell us if we were underweight or overweight.  They were within their ideal weight, but I was 21 pounds underweight.

I dropped them off at the airport after the mall.  My drive home was so nice.  I put the radio on a Christian radio station and just relaxed.  The mountains were so big and green.  Small rain drops decorated my windshield.  Knowing I just made two new friends, replaying in my mind what we did that day: throwing a Nerf football in the toy store, watching them as they modeled a bunch tennis dresses for me (they looked amazing in each one), and me getting toilet paper for Amber from the guys’ bathroom at a run down gas station.

I really had no idea how to get home.  I was a little lost, but finally found my way through the Eastern Tennessee country side.  As I was driving into North Carolina, I kept thinking of Sharon and her girls and how Hannah begged for me to come over last Sunday, but I was busy.  So, I thought I would surprise them.

They were having a cookout for Father’s Day and for Sharon’s dad’s birthday.  They invited me to stay.  The food was delicious.  After dinner, Hannah and I went for a walk down to the Snowflake Inn.  I hadn’t been there since Vince was looking at Melissa, I was looking at Laura, and Hannah, well she was leading the way.

But this time it was just Hannah and I.  How beautiful that little cabin is.  I long for it to be my home.  Hannah and I opened a window and looked inside.  And all I could think was, “Jessica sure would like this place.”

We took a longer walk back and Hannah kept trying to push me in all the mud puddles.  I kept trying to jump out of the way.  We couldn’t stop laughing.  Just an 11-year-old and a 20-year-old as free as they could be.

I left their house at 8:15 p.m. on June 14, 1997.  I came home and fell asleep, but Samarah called me asked me if I could stay with Mangus.  I did.  I slept over there and awoke to the tall oriental cat licking the sleep out of my eyes.

Father’s day of 1997!  What a lovely life I’m living.

June 14, 1997 – Saturday – 1:00 a.m.

Orientation was today.  I met some soon to be new students; two beautiful tennis players from Texas named Monica and Amber.  I will drive them to the airport tomorrow.  I also met a new Performing Arts major named Sarah.

I spent some time with Kim, she’s part of the orientation committee.  We talked and laughed a lot together.  She complemented me on my hair.  And I worked with Lindy in the box office.  We have such a good time, just hours of laughter.  I later watched the NBA championship with Samarah, played with Mangus, Allison and Craig’s cat, and visited with Tracey, Jeni, and Ann-Marie.

And now I’m in my bed in the middle of the night.  I just mentioned nine different girls.  I wonder if any of them are Her?  Right now the closest thing feels to be the Durango postcard on my wall.  There’s a foot and four inches between us, but we often seem to be on the same level.  I went and took a picture of her favorite tree the other day.

I like it when I miss people.  Reminds me that they really do matter.  You can’t miss someone unless you first genuinely share your life with them.

June 11, 1997 – Wednesday – 12:15 p.m.

Life is good.  I go running every morning and I sleep in the peace of Jesus every night.  I pray and read his word every day.  I talk with friends in the afternoon at the box office and get paid for it.  I spent Sunday evening with Dawn until about 11:00 p.m.  She and Derek aren’t together anymore.  Derek wants to date other people.  I’ve seen all this happen before.

I’ve been trying to witness to Samarah, she is the RA in Canon this summer.  We went shopping the other night and had fun.  She feel so far from God at the moment.  Lindy and I have been talking about God and my faith a little.  I can’t help but talk about Jesus these days.

Rachel has been emailing me.  She wants me to go to a Chrysalis weekend in Virginia.  I’m going to try to go.  Its the first weekend in August.

Orientation is this weekend.  I’m going to help check people in and then on Saturday I’m driving two girls back to the airport.  Next week is Vacation Bible School.  I’m playing the main character of a play I wrote for the week.

The summer seems to be flying by so fast.  June is nearly half over.

Jessica still might get to be an RA.  One girl got a full scholarship and doesn’t need the job anymore.  I was so happy when I found that news out.

 

June 10, 1997 – Tuesday – 12:45 a.m.

A new Tuesday.

Forty-five minutes have already vanished.

What to write?  What to remember?

I spent time with Samarah today.  She told me of her only guy friend Lee.  She said he bought her 100 white roses one time and never asked for anything in return.  She said he was the only guy that loved her for her and never tried to sleep with her.  I wondered then why she referred to him in past tense.  Finally she said he was killed by a drunk driver two years ago.

What am I doing?

I received a letter from Rachel today, simply thanking me for my visible walk with the Lord.

I used to be full of so many words, but now I’m speechless.

Sheltered from pain

Full of thought

I have lived among roses

Someone else chopped off the thorns.

Wrinkles from my smile

Proof of my constant grin

I glide down the curly hair of joy

Into the lap of loved ones.

My sorrow is not worth noting

My pain should not be considered

Others hurt worse than me

And I can’t take their pain.

I reach for the moon

Others only reach for their mirror

I live in grace

Others in the emptiness of their reflection.

Why me?

Why was I chosen?

Shirley someone else…

Yet me!

I am nothing

I am no better

I simply grew up in the truth

Others grew up in lies.

I’m seen as odd

But this faith is so normal

My sword is of live-giving pages

Theirs if of venom-dipped words.

The clock away is ticking

The water faucet is dripping

Each second is clicking

And I still have my grin.

Will others find that smile

And live in the eternal while

The sun has gone down today

Will come again tomorrow to stay

At least for a little while.

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.

June 5, 1997 – Thursday – 11:50 p.m.

Let’s see, what has happened these past couple of days?  The box office has opened; business is slow.  Lindy, my assistant, and I have wonderful conversations while we work.  She is simply great.  Last night Jeni and Tracey and I spent the night at a house down in Foscoe (they were house sitting).  I fell down the stairs; it really scared me.  I went swimming with Allen, Vince, and Laura on Wednesday.  Been chatting with MovieMark on the Rebecca St. James chatline, and he isn’t doing too well.  I got Jerry Maquire in the mail and I’ve watched it a couple of times already.  And, well, we leave for Promise Keepers in the morning.

Life has never felt so fast.

Will this ever slow down?