June 19, 1997 – Thursday – 11:37 p.m.

Vacation Bible School has both begun and ended since my last entry.  I was in charge of the dramatic elements.  I wrote a play and played the main character.  It went well.  The kids seemed to love it.  This evening Vince and I went over to Sharon’s.  Hannah and I played a lot of games.  Simple fun!

Four years ago on this historic day, I was saying goodbye to Emily at Deep Creek near Bryson City, NC.  There are some things in life that can’t be explained.  Emily is one of them.  She is my life’s great mystery.

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?

May 17, 1997 – Saturday – 10:08 p.m.

Today…

Today…

Today was the annual nationwide March For Jesus.  This was my first one that I’ve ever attended.  I had a wonderful time singing praises with fellow Christians as we walked the streets of Sanford.  I saw Gary there.  We talked a little and he told me that there was a big party at Kiwanis Park for Matt, Christi’s brother, who had just graduated from Catawba College in Salisbury, NC.  He said that both Matt and Jason were in town.  So, after the March was over I asked mom if we could stop by to see if they were there and say “hey.”  We did.

A car was in the driveway with the trunk open.  The front door was standing wide open.  We pulled up and I got out of the car and Jason runs out of the house.  His hands were waving around and he wasn’t really looking at us.  Frantically, he said, “Oh geez, oh geez, oh God, oh my God.  Mom and Christi and Andy and his girlfriend just got in a car accident.  They are three hours away from here.  And they’re burned!

It took a second for it to register, but then it all made sense when he just plopped down on the steps and cried.  He was in the middle of changing tires on the car out front because he and Matt were going on a fishing trip on the coast.  So, Clay took Jason to find his dad and Matt at the bank downtown.  Mom and I stayed there and prayed.

A few minutes later, Matt pulled up with Pastor Steve’s wife Nancy.  She said she found him walking on the side of the road because their car broke down at the bank.  We told Matt what happened and he went nuts.  Except he said Andy was in Wilmington and Christi and her mom were going to the mountains and Andy doesn’t even have a girlfriend.  Jason’s muttering made no sense.

Hours of confusion took place.  Phone calls were made.  Hank finally made it home and the emotions went wild because no one knew what was going on.

This is what actually happened:

Christi and her mom Patti and Christi’s boyfriend Adam were going to western North Carolina to say goodbye to Christi’s old gym coach.  Patti was taking off Christi’s shoes while Christi was driving, yet at the same time, they were looking at a pretty mountain.  A bump is felt and Christi shouts out an “oops” as she swerves back to the road.  Yet, the beginning of a guard rail is right in front of her and it catches the gas tank near the rear of the car.  It rips it off and flips the car at the same time.  They head straight into the other lane, thankfully there wasn’t any oncoming traffic.  They come to a stop on the other side of the road and the car bursts into flames.  The three shocked passengers crawl out of the car.

Jason got off the phone with the hospital 30 seconds before we drove up.  Matt, Hank, Gary, and Adam’s mom drove up to the mountains to be with them.  I stayed with Jason until my parents picked me up for a church service at 5:30 p.m.

Christi was burned the worst of all three, but nobody should be left with permanent scars.

And that was today.

Today…

No doubt Christi and Adam’s relationship will grow stronger through this shared drama. They’re love is as good as forever.

It’s a week before I go back to the mountains.  I will so go to my perfect world of Banner Elk.  Yet here, the people of my days before LMC are either pregnant, nicotine addicts, or burned.

And I will leave them that way, knowing my prayers and never ending love will be with them.

I am a little blonde-haired boy, lying in my bed on a school day, only I’m too young to attend.  “Why can’t I go, mommy?”

“You have to wait another year until you’re old enough,” she says.

She should have said, “Oh sweetie, don’t rush things.  Enjoy these careless days while they are around.  Soon your closest friends will be in pain and there won’t be any answers to the flames life brings.  Please, stay a child while you can be a child.”

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.

March 26, 1997 – Wednesday – 8:30 p.m.

Today was nice.  For two hours this morning I worked on my final model for scene design.  I then went to Journalism class and then to lunch.  After lunch, I went with Samarah to the hospital; it was a community service program she was doing.  We just went to visit with anyone who needed visiting.  We visited this 70-year-old man with very little family left, and even they all lived in Minnesota.  He had been in the hospital for two weeks concerning his gal bladder.  We were his first visitors.

In the past two weeks he had only been outside twice.  So we took him out in his wheelchair.  He was so surprised that we were there just to talk and listen to him.  He finally opened up.  What a sad story his life has been recently.  His urinary system is all messed up, he even has a tube running through his penis.  My stomach turned as he told his story.

Please heal him Father.

Well, I’ll spend this weekend with Jeni and Tracey in Ahoskie, NC.  Once we return we’ll begin tech rehearsals for the dance concert.  After that the semester will slowly come to a close.  We will go see Stomp, watch Timothy perform in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and watch Jeni graduate.  Then I’ll go home, work at McDonald’s briefly, then return for Summer Theater.

But more will happen than just that.  I will see Abigail smile every day, and I’ll hear Curtis laugh his final laughs in this place.  I will pray, walk beneath the stars, hold the wind in my hair, walk along my railroad tracks at home, and I’ll hug Jenna.  And when I do, I’ll be hugging two people.

Another summer is just around the corner.  Life is always the same, yet constantly changing.

I love you; you who are looking out your framed glass window on this Starry night.  You have never met me, yet you know exactly who I am.  I love you already.  You are me.  I am you.  We are one before our eyes even meet.

Good night.

Dream of me.

 

March 25, 1997 – Tuesday – 11:15 a.m.

The Oscars have come and gone.  I didn’t like most of the results.  The English Patient took it all, which it deserved, but the movie just didn’t do it for me personally.  Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Frances McDormand won, which I was pleased with.

Everything is good.

I’m enjoying life as simply as I possibly can.  I’m trying to find joy in the small things.

Simple and innocent love.

That’s all there is.