September 7, 1997 – Sunday – 12:49 p.m.

Around four o’clock Friday afternoon I made my departure from the grand state of North Carolina in Sherlive’s red Nissan.  I sat alone in the back.  We drove into Tennessee while Anna, a freshman from New York, sat in the passenger’s seat.

Sherlive has quite an interesting family.  Her mother looks like her eyes are always closed.  She is constantly taking pictures and rambling.  But she is very loving.  Sherlive’s father, with his super deep voice, always begins each sentence with “when I was a boy.”  He cooked enough food for an army, but lives in yesterday.  Then, Mikayla, Sherlive’s 3-year-old adopted sister, clung to me like her long lost brother.  She’s a wonderful little girl and a great new friend.

After dinner on Friday night, we went to an Elizabethton High School football game.  Sherlive wanted to see some old friends and see the high school band, one she used to be a part of.  The game was okay, I was just kinda amazed by the whole high school scene.  I feel old.

Sherlive, Anna, and myself got into some deep conversations about life, love, and relationships.  After halftime we ended up at a coffee shop in Johnson City.  Anna is this cute little 100% Greek girl who feels more like someone’s grandmother instead of an 18-year-old, but I mean that in a cool way.

Dan met us Saturday morning to go hiking with us.  He ate breakfast with us too; a huge amount of food made by Sherlive’s dad.  We went to Blue Hold and then to Red Fork Falls, at least I think that’s what it was called.  They were really pretty places.  I took some pictures.

Sherlive is such a funny little nutcase.  She goes rock climbing in her bare feet and Dan says “Hey is Blue Hole cool?”

“No, it’s cold.” she says.

Dan looks at me funny.  “Okay, well, is it rad?”

“No, it’s blue!”

Dan and I burst out laughing.  Then, after Sherlive has been stuck on the side of the cliff for about 30 minutes, Dan just jumps up and runs towards it and scurries up it like a squirrel.  He reaches the top that Sherlive has been trying to climb to in two seconds.  Oh, Sherlive was so mad, she just screamed bloody murder.

In the middle of all the beautiful scenery, Dan and I just broke free, ran around, and laughed our butts off everywhere we went.  We stuck our heads out the window whenever we were in the car and just hooted and hollered the whole day.  If I wrote down every funny thing we said, oh, this book would be full.

Linda visited me last night.  We sort of got caught up on our Box Office talk.  And Marisa called me last night.  She said she just wanted to hear my voice.

Church was amazing this morning.  I cried.  Heaven is a guarantee.

Abigail and Ann-Marie both come to Heaton now.  Our college age group is so huge.

Friends.  What an amazing concept.  I would do anything for these people.

I would live.

I would die.

Advertisements

September 5, 1997 – 12:30 p.m.

One of the greatest gifts God has ever given his creation is words.

Words.

You are amazing God.

It is thirty minutes past high noon.  Another day has already passed its halfway mark.

I proposed to put the Emmanuel Players old Mask Skit in the Fall Dance Concert.  I had to type up a proposal and deliver a presentation to the Performing Arts Department.  They approved it and want me to do it.  So the Mask Skit will live again.  I will have a completely different cast, but the Emmanuel Players will never die.  The dance concert opens in October.

There are so many stories here.  The new freshmen have such lives, such eyes.  I am slowly being introduced to each one.  They don’t know how much I watch them, how I study their faces and reactions.  I examine each word and expression.  God, you created so many amazing people.

This weekend, or this evening rather, I’m leaving with Sherlive and another girl to go to Sherlive’s house.  Tonight we’ll go to a football game and on Saturday Dan will meet up with us and we’ll go hiking in the Eastern Tennessee wilderness.

Marisa and I still email and write.  She is coming up here in four weeks.  I can’t wait to see her.  Lindy was cast as my love interest in The Misanthrope.  That should be fun.  And Dawn made a proclamation of her faith in our Acting and Directing classes today.  She says she is finally making God her number one.

My horsemanship class is so amazing.  My horse is Bay Lady, she was Jeni’s horse when she took the class back in 1994.

Speaking of Jeni, girls just don’t make a very good god.  Our relationship seems so long ago and I easily made her my number one during that season.  Whatever is number one in your life is your god.

Nothing will ever replace you Father!

August 12, 1997 – Tuesday – 12:40 p.m.

All of the summer theater people are gone.  The season is over.  That story is finished.

Lindy and I in the box office.  Marisa and I talking until two in the morning.  Jeanine and I walking in the darkness of Hemlock Hill.  These are the girls that summer theater brought me.  And with each one I shared Jesus.

One girl who came along, but not because of summer theater, is Sherlive.  And I pray I am never without her friendship.

Allen has also kissed Crystal.  He does not anticipate or plan these things.  Girls are just all over him these days.  Neither of us know why.

RD training is going well.  I am now CPR and first-aid certified.  I move into McAlister by the end of the week.  New Freshman arrive a week later.  Jessica, Abigail, Josh, and all are returning.

But Curtis will not be.

Hello.

Goodbye.

August 10, 1997 – Sunday – 4:05 p.m.

Marisa turns 15 today.  I turn 21 in a week.

Dan has gone home.  The place feels empty.  This next week I will move to McAlister; I’ll have a smaller apartment with one less room than this one.

It just started to rain.

For the next hour and a half, I’ll exist quietly in these three rooms.  I will listen to slow and soothing music, and I will read and write.  At 5:30 p.m. I will go back to the box office to sell tickets and I’ll enjoy the show again tonight.

Jeanine will sleep in here tonight since her mom is visiting and will take her bed.

RD training begins on Monday and I will also check everyone out of Tennessee Dorm between Monday and Wednesday.

Children of Eden ends tomorrow.  Lindy and I began with three full ticket racks and now we are nearly empty.  Everyone has loved this show.

My final year of college is so close.  How different it will be.  My rounds will now include seven buildings instead of just two hallways.  I will tackle directing and horseback riding.

So my simple and relaxing summer will soon end and I will never live in these walls again.  What have these walls seen?  Jeni and I kissing.  Dan and I wondering.  Charlie crying over Kate.  And me watching Sherlive as she slept.

The summer of 1997.

Nothing ever stays the same.

Charlie and I went to see Conspiracy Theory last night.  I enjoyed it.  I helped Charlie in Junior Worship this morning and ate with Tracey and her family plus Lindy and Ann-Marie at the Banner Elk Cafe.

It’s difficult for me to remember who I was before Lees-McRae.  I almost feel like my senior year will be the last year of my life.  Leaving this place seems close to death.

But surely there are no real goodbyes among Christians.

It’s 4:45 p.m.

Am I still living in my youth?  Or are those days gone?

4:47 p.m.

And so…well…

Weird, huh?

 

August 5, 1997 – Tuesday – 12:28 p.m.

I’m back in Banner Elk.  Rachel and I had fun on the drive down yesterday.  I discovered some interesting news when I got here.  Jeanine and Allen kissed each other down by Elk River.  And I thought Allen vowed to never kiss another girl until after he married her.  I thought it was funny, but also sad.  She leaves in a week.  Linda and I talked a lot last night about Chrysalis.  But I miss Sherlive.  I hope to see her real soon.

Children of Eden, the final summer theater show, beings on Thursday.  So, summer theater ends a week from today.  RD training begins this weekend.  The RAs arrive on Sunday the 17th, my birthday.  So, I will officially declare August 17th as the last day of the summer of 1997.

That’s 12 days away.  Graduation is in nine months.  Nine months until the second storm. But I made good friends out of complete strangers over the past three days, so I’m not worried about moving away.  There are good people everywhere you go.

Constant change.

Increase range.

Differences increase.

But there’s aways peace.

July 29, 1997 – Tuesday – 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday.  Two days without Sherlive, but my thoughts have been filled with her.

I washed clothes this morning.  Worked, or rather laughed, with Lindy in the box office and then came back and washed dishes.  I read my Bible and a Max Lucado story this evening, then Dan, Vince, Charlie and I went to a nearby pastor’s house.  Dan had brought some chemical or something back from West Virginia and he wanted to make something called a potato gun.  He said the chemical was illegal in all the other states except for West Virginia.  But we didn’t have any potatoes, so the idea was to borrow some from this pastor with a nice garden.  Once we entered his house, his wife asked us if we wanted some dinner.  We said, “No, but we would like some vegetables from your garden.”  And they were more than happy to give us some.

They didn’t have any potatoes, but they had tons of zucchini they wanted to part with.  So, with our hands full of more zucchini than we could ever eat, we drove to the football field on campus and Dan got out this pipe and I don’t really understand what happened, but they stuffed one end with a zucchini, and the other end was full of this chemical, a bit of water and then Dan was holding a flame at the bottom.  Nothing was happening and we were all saying he was full of crap, but all of a sudden…BOOM!!!

We had just shot a zucchini halfway across Banner Elk!  It was a super loud explosion.  Dogs started barking all over town, lights were coming on in all the houses, and I’ve never been so scared in my life so I just immediately started running across the field to hide somewhere; I was sure the cops were coming to take us away for life.

But I had totally forgot that Dan had given me his keys for some reason and I had stranded them there since I ran off.  Luckily Dan had a spare key under his car in a magnet box, but it took them forever to retrieve it.

We finally met up and they kept making fun of how fast I ran away.  I guess it was pretty funny, but I was seriously terrified at the time.  I’ve already been arrested once in this town for trespassing.

. . .

I talked to Rachel tonight and I leave for Chrysalis Thursday morning.

While in the box office today, I called the church and asked for the number of a family that lives in TN, hoping they would have a phone book for that region.  They did and I asked them to look up Denny, Sherlive’s dad’s name.  They found it and I now have her phone number.  I haven’t called her yet, but I might if she doesn’t show up for church tomorrow night.

I see Sherlive and I getting close, but this is her freshman year and my senior year.  I’m kinda scared.

Truth:

This is not my home.

Sherlive is not mine.

She is God’s, as am I.

God comes first.

Otherwise, nothing else will work.

Heaven is in the end.

Heaven is a secret.

A secret allowed to be told.

I must tell that secret.

Secrets are secrets because they are true.

. . .

July is ending.

The month of change awaits.

Change is hiding under my bed.

Awaiting to take me in the night.

I will change rooms, age, and class.

Voices, eyes, smiles, they are killing me.

I fight, live, and die for them all.

They come and haunt me.

I feel Sherlive understands this loving pain.

And that is what burns inside of me.

I no longer know what to write.  I can’t write all of my thoughts for some of them are secrets.  Secrets like heaven and they too don’t have words.

July 27, 1997 – Sunday – 8:10 a.m.

I met her two weeks ago this evening.  Sherlive is a miracle and blessing from God.  She came to visit me while I worked in the box office on Saturday.  Lindy wasn’t there yesterday, so it was only Sherlive and I.  We played cards and talked about the Lord.  I told her some things on my mind, deeper thoughts; I let her in a little.  We talked so long. She is so much fun.  She is a snowboarder, but she thinks chick flicks are awesome.  She listens to the same music I do.

She came for the orientation on Friday and Saturday and needed a place to stay the night instead of driving back to Tennessee; she wanted to go to church with me this morning.  Dan is in West Virginia so I offered to let her sleep here.  She is asleep now in Dan’s bed.

We talked about her last night and how her life is a miracle.  They were in a car accident in Kentucky, a very serious car accident, when she was seven.  The doctors basically waited for her to die.  But here she is now.  She has a stuttering problem because of that accident.  Her jaw was shattered and her face and forehead cut open, but God kept her alive.

And he brought her here.

She is so beautiful and so in love with God.