January 4, 1999 – Monday – 2:00 p.m.

I am now at the Pensacola airport.  It’s the fourth day of 1999.  It’s not just the end of a decade, but the end of a century.  Knowledge feels rampant, but love feels scares.  I do not know what this year will hold, but I will worship the Lord throughout.

There is a small flock of birds scattered amongst the clouds.  It’s a good day to fly.

I want to be a good student and a good friend this semester.  All of that is much harder than it sounds.  I want to live right.  I’m so thankful to be away from Sarah, and I no longer want to mess with Emily.  I want to start afresh.

I told my good friends at Lees-McRae that I would come visit during my spring break, but I think it might be bad for me to go back.  I do not belong there anymore.  I doubt I will have the money anyway.

Well, they just announced my flight was delayed.  I have to go check something out…

 

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December 31, 1998 – Thursday – 12:30 p.m.

It is the last day of the year.  Happy Birthday Christi!

And it is nearly the last day of the century.

Emily and I never went to a movie on Monday.  She left a message here on Wednesday night saying she had been in Atlanta for the past two days and now she is back in Tallahassee.  I flew down here from Virginia to see her and she goes to Atlanta, yet she writes letters to me saying, “In a perfect world, I could smell the salt of your skin.”

It doesn’t make any sense.  I want our story to be over.

So 1999 will begin soon.  I am going to spend the final night of this year at Brownsville Assembly of God.

Last night mom and I went to visit a local church and we ended up at Glad Tidings Assembly of God in Pace, FL.  There I met the oldest resident of Santa Rosa county.  She is 105 years old.

I often think that because I take the time to write my thoughts down on these blank pages that I’ve figured life out.  But then I look into the eyes of someone born in the 1890s and realize I don’t know anything.  She was all there too.  She had the clearest mind.  Oh God, may I get there some day.

I’ve found myself dreaming of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake.  It has happened again.  Another home has come.  I long for it now more than my mountains.

Oh Lord, don’t ever let me go.

I spent the first days of this year in Siler City and Sanford, then months in Banner Elk where I spent time with Sarah who decided to let me go before I would have to let her go.  I played Billy Bibbit on stage, spent a week in Kentucky, a weekend in Tampa, and thousand of moments with the greatest humans on the earth: Vince, Allen, Dan, Curtis, Tracey, Abigail, Ann-Marie, Josh, Ashley, Justin, Jessica, Lindy, Jeni and many more.  Jenny got married.  I graduated.  And I spent a month driving back and forth to Winston-Salem trying to hold onto a girl I knew was fading away.  I raised some money, flew to Africa, and returned to a brand new world of Christin, Sterling, and Kimberly; a world I now greatly miss.

I saw God move in South Africa, but as I grow older, I realize God is moving everywhere.

In addition to my one-act in the early months of the year, I also directed a beautiful Christmas show at Parkway Temple.  Regent allowed me to work on many film projects, and of course there was my job at the bookstore.  I visited Lynchburg, and now I am here in Milton, FL, where I rode with mom to New Orleans and saw the coast line in between.

I am 22-years-old.

The days are not getting any easier.

The days are not getting any longer.

All I can do is grab the hand of Jesus on one side of me, grab the hand of a good friend on the other side, and hope the rock on which we stand will remain.

The first days of 1999 will begin as the last days of 1998 are ending.  I’ll be attending the famous Brownsville Revival.

I fly out on the fourth and will land in the arms of Christin, for she is picking me up from the airport.

If all goes well, I hope to spend most of my days in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake during the final months of the century, for I have a very acute feeling that I won’t be there very long.

Heaven will be nice.

There are no goodbyes there.

December 29, 1998 – Tuesday – 9:30 a.m.

It is nearing the end of the year.  I rest in Milton, Florida, USA, and these days force me to look back.

Nineteen Hundred Ninety-Eight.

Thoughts of Sarah, as well as saying goodbye to Lees-McRae, took up the first six months. I still long for that place, but I’m secretly and silently afraid to go back to visit, for I fear I might ruin it’s impact on my life and my heart.

There was a month of transition in the middle of this year through which I visited Texas and South Africa, with brief stops in New York and Miami.  Those were such perfect days.  I wish I could go back and stay in them a little longer, for they were simply too short.

Virginia Beach, Regent University, and Parkway Temple all immediately fell into my lap and my heart.  It seemed as though my collection grew overnight, and now it is the only home I long for.

I am enjoying my time off here, but my parents’ marriage, my stepfather’s need to explain everything, and my mother’s non-displays-of-affection towards her husband and myself still shock and hurt me.  I simply do not understand.  I stay silent.

Emily said she would call yesterday.  She did not.  She reminds me of Sarah.

I just want to do it right.  I want a true and simple love.

The tiny smile of Christin is all I need.

Since my first semester of graduate school is over, it is time to pick the most cherished moments of that time.  There are only two, and I was fully aware they were perfect moments while they were happening.

The first was on November 28, 1998, the Saturday evening I spent with Tracey.  It was the moment during Riverdance in which a gentlemen played a beautiful bagpipe sort of instrument and the entire world stopped.  The music brought peace to the entirety of my days and perfect love to my heart.  I had an old friend by my side and even older memories in my mind.  I had just seen Vince and Allen, a beautiful sunset, and fantastic fireworks.

Perfection.

The next one took place during the early morning hours of December 13, 1998.  My Heart Will Go On played over the credits of Titanic.  Sterling was asleep on one side of me, and Christin was asleep on the other.  Her beautiful face was on my chest and my fingers were in her hair.

Perfection.

And so, a few days of this year remain.

Can 1999 be so close?

What is happening to this world?

Jesus, you are my shelter.

You are all I seek.

Please guide me.

 

December 16, 1998 – Wednesday – 10:09 p.m.

I called Sharon tonight and I spoke with her and Hannah.  Sharon’s dad died suddenly last Thursday.  She loves me so greatly, for even in her time of loss she gave me so much.  It overwhelms me to think that God loves me so much more than Sharon does.

You know… I have always thought that I had grand dreams and great goals, but I think that just this moment, after talking with Sharon and reliving memories with Hannah, those memories of our walks to Snowflake Inn and summer evenings of catching fireflies, I think I’ve already fulfilled the dreams I knew nothing of.  As I look back on myself now, it seems that little blonde-haired boy was always dreaming of the moment when I would run my hands over Christin’s hair, or touch Abigail’s face, or study the curves of Sarah’s cheeks, or laugh endlessly with Dan, Allen, Vince, Curtis, Charlie, Josh, and Justin.

It feels as though I have fulfilled all I was ever suppose to accomplish.

Oh, wouldn’t you agree, life is beautiful.

To hear Sharon talk of Laura tonight…she still remains one of, if not the most, beautiful and amazing girl I’ve ever come across.

I’m going to pray to my God now, because…life is beautiful!

November 28, 1998 – Saturday – 11:38 p.m.

Never have I ever…well, that’s not true…I’ve experienced many perfect days, well more than I deserve, but today was uniquely perfect, insanely perfect, unfairly perfect.

Yesterday was spent with my two good friends; that afternoon we visit Drew, who lives about an hour away in the country.  We went squirrel hunting.  It was nice I guess, both only Drew was skilled enough to kill two squirrels.  Vince and Allen and I had no idea what we were doing.

I left the mountain town of Lynchburg this morning at 10:00.  The drive was peaceful and beautiful, filled with prayer and song for nearly four hours.  I took a shower when I arrived here to my apartment.  Then Tracey arrived, my beautiful friend whom I’ve known for over four years now.  We drove to Sandbridge and saw the sun set over the backwaters near the ocean.  The multitude of colors were absolutely stunning.  So pink, yet so blue, with such still water; I’m convinced God is in control.

Tracey and I drove back towards Norfolk and talked of life and love like old friends tend to do.  It was so good to have her near me.  She is the sight and the smell of my earliest days at Lees-McRae.  She was one of the faces that filled my days after I left home.  After pulling into downtown Norfolk, we ended up at a really expensive restaurant near the Scope.  We didn’t have much money, but we made the best of it, pretending like we were rich people.

Before the show started, we took the elevator to the highest level of the lobby and watched a display of fireworks erupting over the waterfront.  The city was celebrating the upcoming holidays.  Pleasure filled my eyes.  I was already moved by the sunset, but the sparkling fireworks over the Chesapeake Bay took me to a new level.

And then we watched Riverdance.

Every moment was perfect.  I was not alone.  During an instrumental piece it felt as though my life had come to another eternal instant.  I was perfectly content.  All that I had done in life to bring me to that moment felt like pure peace.

A friend, a sunset, a lovely dinner, fireworks, Riverdance, and a thankful heart–such good things.  And they can all be summed up with one word: Jesus.

 

November 27, 1998 – Friday – 8:15 a.m.

I’m in Lynchburg, VA.  This is an interesting little town.  I left Wednesday morning and the drive was so peaceful.  Vince’s parents’ house is an historical one that they are renovating.  It looks amazing on the inside.  Allen and Vince arrived Wednesday afternoon, and we went to a movie that night.  On Thursday we went for a walk downtown, and I took a bunch of pictures of us being silly.  It’s so good to be around them.

Yesterday’s meal was nice, but I’m not sure if Vince’s family are Christians.  I missed everyone sharing what they’re thankful for.

One thing I have noticed though, I had to leave Lees-McRae in order to grow.  Vince and Allen still seem like they are in the same place as they were when I left.  There’s nothing wrong with that, we are all on our own journey; I’m only looking at me and seeing what God is doing.

God gives me such good things.  Our moments of laugher with my friends this Thanksgiving were more than I ever deserve on this planet.  Every fleeting moment is a treasure.  Thank you Lord for these days.

November 23, 1998 – Monday – 1:20 p.m.

Yesterday at church, 32-year-old Debbie told me that the Lord gave her a dream, and she knew who I was going to marry.  She didn’t tell me directly who it was, she just said, “One thing for sure…you’re going to have tall children.”  This could only mean Kimberly.

Needless to say, I went a little crazy, for I had a similar dream myself.  I simply give it to you God.

I called Abigail last night and told her about Rebecca and Kimberly.  We talked for a while.  She is so precious.  She and Dan are perfectly in love.  Thank you for our friendship God.  We even talked a bit about her face, and how I loved to touch it back at Lees-McRae.  She said that simply knowing that was one of my most treasured memories in life really blessed her.

Forever friends.  I can’t wait until I visit Lees-McRae again.