July 5, 1998 – Sunday – 9:38 p.m.

I went to Parkway Temple this morning.  I felt so welcome!  One woman came straight up to me and told me I had the most beautiful eyes in the world.  Afterwards I went out to lunch with David and two other members of the youth group.

That afternoon I spoke with Emily and Lindy over the phone.  Then I went to the Founder’s Inn on campus and stood in line for 40 minutes to see Mark Lowry in concert.  I stood in line and sat with three beautiful women: one mother, one daughter, and one aunt.  The mom went to Parkway Temple.

Mark Lowry was hilarious.  I saw him many years ago with my mom in Asheboro.  I also got a free ticket to see him on the 700 Club tomorrow morning.  How cool is that!

I feel like God is showing me so much and it’s making him so happy!  Loving God and enjoying everything he has made is the only way to be alive!  He has truly given me an abundant life!

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June 28, 1998 – Sunday – 5:11 p.m.

And now the world is different again.

I went to see Sarah Friday night.  We spent three hours together from 7pm to 10pm.  We ate out at the Rockola Cafe, had some ice cream, took a walk, and then said goodbye to each other in her driveway.

It was a very nice time.  She said she loved me after I said my last goodbye.

I miss her now.  I have so much more in my heart to say, but I would rather put it in letters to her.  Find those letters if you can, for not every thought or every emotion from my life can be found in these books.

So now…

Now.

Now I sit in my new, very clean, apartment in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  My roommate’s name is Matt, and we went out to eat with his parents last night.  They prayed for us.

I went to a huge church this morning called the Rock Church.  I had a good time for being a stranger.  I also drove around this afternoon and did some shopping.  I got lost.  This area is huge and the roads just change their name out of the blue.  I never made a turn, but discovered I was on a completely different road.  Justin came to visit last night as well.  It’s nice there is one Lees-McRae friend who will be here in the summers at least.

Regent is a beautiful campus.  I can’t wait until classes start.

It feels as though I’ve grown up quite a bit in just two day’s time.  It is strange to have a kitchen to take care of.  My neighbors, who are less than 10 feet away, have children.  Matt and I are very young compared to everyone around us; very young.  Most of them have been married for a while, had a career, a couple of kids, and now they are going back to school.  I’m 21.  It feels like everyone around me is 35.

But here I am…in this new place, and I don’t think I’ve fully realized it yet.

Sarah is far away.

I love her so much.

This is crazy, and I haven’t even left for Africa yet.

God is with me, and he takes care of all my needs.

Since he is so close, I am always home.

June 3, 1998 – Wednesday – 10:00 p.m.

I just got back from church.  You know, I’m really beginning to miss Lees-McRae.  It can never again be like it was.  Vince, Dan, Allen, Curtis, Charlie, Justin, Josh, etc.; I don’t think I’ve ever had better friends.  Lindy, Tracey, Jeni, Abigail, Ann-Marie, Jessica, Ashley, Ellen, Jessi, Sherlive; I don’t think I’ve ever known sweeter girls.

Except for Sarah, of course.

And I know the God who designed their souls, who drew out the patterns in their eyes, who knew those very eyes would one day shoot daggers through my own soul.

A week from tomorrow I will be leaving to visit them all again with Lindy.

I feel Sarah has changed since she has returned home and taken her job at YMCA.  She seems more mature.  I like it.  I think about her constantly.  I want her forever; to grow old with her.  To simply experience everything by her side.

I will soon go a long time without seeing her, but I will never go a long time without loving her.

I’ve been thinking and I believe that my life has stages.  God plans on using me in different places, different areas, and in each area, in each place, he just wants to watch me interact with and love the other people he has made.  He wants me to experience his creation.  He made me to show me off, and he made others to show them off.

But each stage will eventually come to an end, and the love between us will be all that will live on.

Nothing truly dies.

The Emmanuel Players skit group was a time.

Chatham Central High School was a time.

Lees-McRae College was a time.

Heaton Christian Church was a time.

South Africa will be a time.

Regent University will be a time.

And possibly, some day, I will satisfy these desires in me to make movies, to make theater, to write, and I will move on to what’s next.

It’s funny though, because through all of these stages, I feel they came to a peak when God showed me Sarah.  Or perhaps it feels that way because I’m currently in this moment.  Perhaps she is just here to aid in the transition to the next stage.

If I never see Sarah again after South Africa, all will still be well for the rest of my life, for I know I at least had seven great months by her side.

And even an hour is way more than I deserve.

April 24, 1998 – Friday – 6:30 p.m.

What a neat week!  At the Performing Arts banquet on Wednesday, I received the Best Actor award again for this year!  I was awarded it last year as well.

Sarah and I are doing fine.  In fact she is currently in my bathtub right now.  No other student has access to a bathtub, so I bought her some candles, etc. and invited her to have a private relaxing bath.  I love her so much!

Only one full week of classes remain and then another week to say goodbye.

God is so good to me.

We had senior evaluations this morning. Melonie gave me the greatest compliment.  She said, “You are a ray of light to the dark theater world.”  Perhaps I have been doing something right all these years.  Dawn even called me a “true Christian.”

To top it all off, I got my haircut today and everyone loves it!  What is God so kind?  Can life be this good forever?

 

April 18, 1998 – Saturday – 1:30 p.m.

Vince, Curtis, Ashley, and I went to see City of Angels last night.  That movie completely woke me up.  I had the most amazing morning.  Everything was brighter and more beautiful.  It all just tastes better.  It was raining outside, but that made it even more beautiful.

I have been given so much.  I am able to hear.  Able to see.  Able to sleep and taste and feel.  I’ve been able to hold Sarah and love and smell and watch and touch her.  My life is richer and fuller now because of the time I’ve spent here with her.

I am so young.  But I feel so old.  Perhaps because the elderly know when it’s their time to go and I know my time here as come to an end.

April 5, 1998 – Sunday – 7:30 p.m.

I now reside in a red chair in the last row of the waiting area for gate C36 at the Atlanta International Airport.  My 7:40 flight was cancelled, so I will not depart until 9:20 p.m.

My flight from Tampa to Atlanta was on the largest plane I’ve ever been on.  I sat one seat across from Rob, who was also at the leadership camp.  Carla, Curtis’ childhood friend who still lives in Atlanta, met up with the both of us and we had a nice little meal.  Rob went on to fly to Raleigh-Durham, and Carla and I just sat and talked about Curtis.  She eventually had to leave to go have dinner with her dad.

So, I am now in my solitude.

I tried to call Sarah from a pay phone, but she wasn’t in.

So, now I have adequate time to reflect.  The sun is setting directly to my left.  I am facing north.  Huge airplanes reside out the window, all preparing to take lovers to loved ones, or even lovers away from loved ones.

This place has grown empty.  Not too many people are around me now.

While still at the Tampa airport, I spent two hours talking with Joel and Carlee.  They were both at the camp as well.  Carlee had been on six mission trips and said the experience completely changes you.  That excited and scared me, for I simply don’t know what is to become of Sarah and I, so what if this summer really does change me?

I read an article in CCM about Margaret Becker.  She spoke of seeing life as a process, as a journey of the soul into the mystery of God.

She said, “The mystery of this love relationship, not the final destination, is the bottom line.”

The mystery is the point, the whole point.  At least I think that’s what she’s trying to say.

Another thing I learned from the article is that to be totally free is to not be burdened by tomorrow.

She also said, “I’m so tired of trying to define a love affair with words.  Our language is not up to the task.  So why are we even trying?  Let’s just talk about whatever glimpse of passion that each moment is, and let’s just hope to God that within that huge ocean, He’ll take a droplet out that makes sense to everybody…”

It’ll take me my whole life to drink that ocean, perhaps even to consume that droplet.

“God must have a great sense of humor.  He delights in contradictions.  The weak really are the strong.  The last shall be first.  The meek shall inherit the earth.  The list goes on and on.  One needs only to accept God’s absolute control to find absolute freedom.  To accept the poverty of our humanness is to enjoy the riches found therein.”

The sun has set, for only an orange haze remains at the horizon.

I’ve been selfish with my life.  See, I called it mine.  I’ve been selfish with His life.  Every step I have is because of Him.  Every joy of life is because of Him.

Sarah is because of Him.

Oh God, I want you and nothing else.

April 4, 1998 – Saturday – 3:00 p.m.

This has been a very different day so far.  I have never met any of these 60 other people before, but each one, in one way or another, resembles someone I have come across before.  It makes me wonder how many others out there are very similar to me.

I am learning though.  I’m learning how to be a better leader.  If I do lead a team this summer, it’ll be a great learning experience and easily help me in other areas of life.

Life.  Crazy.  It will change so much as it continues on.  There are so many people on this planet.  We can’t all be that different.  I am just one of them.

I read something today that really opened my eyes:  Romans 14.

Who am I to pass judgement on another one of my Lord’s servants?  He has given them different duties and a very different way of handling matters than He has given me.  I must be responsible for what I know, and focus less on what others don’t know.  I simply have to do my work for Him, for no one else can do what I must do.

Sure, I am special, important, and unique, but the real truth is that everyone else around me is as well.  And I should focus my efforts making them feel that way, and less time on proclaiming myself as such.

We all want to belong, yet we also want others to see us as unique.

We are all alike.  We are all different.