May 10, 2001 – Thursday – 11:23 a.m.

Last night was a miracle. It was my first film festival. Dang screened to a packed theater in downtown Norfolk, and people were laughing. They were laughing so loud I heard a few people choke on their laughter. They were also quiet, and they listened. It was my movie that was playing, it was my script, my story, and the audience loved it. I won the audience award and another award; I have two statues forever to remind me of this moment. Lindy and Eddie came up to see it, and Anna was there with me. She looked beautiful!

An editor of feature films came up to me after the award ceremony and said, “In this industry there are people who try for it, they look for it, but never find it, but then there are people who were just born with it. You, you were born with it.”

This film has been a long journey. From all its real-life inspiration to all the acting and directing classes in both theater and film; it all culminated in this project that I’ve been working on here and there for the last two years. Thank you God for allowing me to be noticed and rewarded for the work that I put into it.

The festival plays again tomorrow night, and I graduate on Saturday. I graduated from Lees-McRae College three years this morning, and it is sixteen days until Anna and I marry. Life is very full at the moment.

But I know that I can’t live forever in last night’s glory and honor. It too will fade. More life is ahead. I’m marrying a beautiful woman. I’m honeymooning in my favorite land. I’m turning 25 in a few months.

And no matter what, heaven awaits.

April 10, 2001 – Tuesday – 4:00 p.m.

I just got off the phone with Lindy, easily one of the best friends I’ll ever have. I feel like my insides are going to explode. Everything is coming to the most amazing ending, and an entire universe is beginning.

The week of the wedding is going to be full of complete emotional ecstasy. There is much history and so many stories that will collide together for the moment Anna and I join our lives together. I will pick Vince up from the Miami airport, then we will drive up the coast for four hours after not seeing each other for over a year. Nearly all of Lees-McRae and Banner Elk, NC is dying to see him, and he will be there in when they all arrive on Thursday for the wedding on Saturday. Over 15 Lees-McRae friends are making the 11 hour trip south. Marcus is coming, as well as Danny and Peter, they are all bringing friends along.

Abigail is going to sing. Tracey is going to play piano. Vince, Lindy, and Dan will be standing next to me. I’ll share the weekend with all my friends, then drive away with Anna.

Anna just showed up. Gotta go!

January 30, 2001 – Tuesday – 8:00 p.m.

I know that I have hardly written anything this entire month of January, and now it is over. This has been my first full month of engagement to Anna and it’s been a busy one. I remember when I used to write in my journal twice a day. Is this what marriage means? I have less time to just be me?

One hundred and sixteen days remain.

Life has been full of video work, bookstore work, and wedding work. Anna continues to grow more interesting to me each day. She is the love of my life.

I’ve been working on my invitation list. After 24 years of life, I do supposed I’ve made some good friends along the way. Some sad news has happened with them however. Megan has left Curtis. It is a long story, but it’s all Megan. She used Chris to just get away from her parents and then she left him. And, Lindy fear she might be manic-depressive since that has run through her family.

Among other things Anna and I will take a trip to Florida in one month, and I also believe we will attend an Engagement Encounter weekend in Asheville, NC in April.

I’ve only really known Anna for three months now. It’s only four months until we get married.

Seven months.

Then a lifetime.

Thank you for this adventure God.

January 6, 2001 – Saturday – 10:00 a.m.

It has been a week since I asked Anna to marry me. What a beautiful week; people have been freaking out. Everyone is blessing us like crazy and are so happy for us. Some are super surprised, for they didn’t even know we knew each other.

We are planning our wedding together and I’m planning the honeymoon. It will be beautiful. We decided May 26th in her hometown would be a bit easier than July 7th. That’s four and a half months away.

Anna is going to have her good friend Steve in her bridal party and I’m going to have Lindy as one of my “groomsmen.” How cool! Hopefully, Vince will be able to come up from Bolivia and be my best man.

I just love this stuff. I love planning my life with Anna. She is perfection. God saved the best for last.

So, I will be a husband before I turn 25-years-old. All these years, her name was always Anna. It was never Veronica, never Ryan, never Jeni, never Emily, never Sarah, never Marie, nor any other girl. It was always Anna, and she turns 23 in 19 days.

July 15, 2000 – Saturday – 3:40 p.m.

I’m not doing too well.  I sent Lindy an email, just explaining the sad condition of my heart, all I wanted was to be understood, but her reply was just telling me to shut up and get over it.

I feel those still in Banner Elk just don’t understand.  No one has left yet.  They are still surrounded by all their friends and they don’t know what it is to be alone in their 20s.  My best friends here are teenage girls (Sterling, Kimberly, Christin), and I have two nice colleagues at work (Dan and Jean), and I get along with my roommate Dan, but I really miss all the Regent film students.  I wish I could see them everyday like I used to, but I just don’t have class anymore.  I feel after I attend Dan and Abigail’s wedding that I should just let Banner Elk be.  It only hurts to try and hold on to it.

I don’t seem to make sense to people at work.  They make fun of me a lot, especially those who work in sales or who work in the warehouse.  Most of them are non-Christians.  Oh well.  It’s never really been any different, so I don’t know why it surprises me when someone thinks I’m odd.  It would probably more weird if someone viewed me as just an average dude.

I wish it was winter.  I wish it was Sunday so I could visit Forefront.  I haven’t been to a regular church service in so long.  I miss God’s touch.

April 21, 2000 – Friday – 8:05 a.m.

I’m in Metuchen, New Jersey again.  And my recent days have been a learning experience.  On the 15th Marie and I drove to Banner Elk.  We visited Tracey’s and Lindy’s first.  Everyone heard we were there and then almost suddenly their living room was full of nearly 20 dear friends wanting to see me.   That was a bit overwhelming for Marie since most of them were girls.  Sarah even showed up and hugged me tightly.

Saturday night we saw Hamlet on campus.  What a wonderful production!  It had one of the most ambitious sets I’ve ever seen on that stage.  On Sunday morning we went to Banner Elk Christian Fellowship, then to hike on Grandfather Mountain, then to visit Leslie and her family, and then to visit Heaton, then to visit Sharon and her girls, and it was just a huge day.  And when I say “we,” I don’t mean Marie and I, I mean everyone, all my dear friends.  Needless to say, Marie got placed aside a bit.  I tried to get her to join in on the fun, but she didn’t.

We talked that evening, and she cried.  She cried because she felt so lonely.  She felt there was this huge world that she had to compete with.  And the next three days passed in that same fashion.  One of those days we drove with Sharon down to Asheville, and we realized that this world of Lees-McRae had already been defined for me.  I knew this place without Marie.  It felt natural for me to cling to them while in this land, for I had no memory of ever clinging to Marie in these mountains.

Marie’s world is three family-members.

Mine is 25 friends.

I never realized how unique my college experience was until I saw it overwhelm another soul.

I still got to see everyone and get caught up.  Curtis and Megan came down.  It was so weird to see them married.  Dan was there for two days, then he left to go snorkeling in the Florida Keys.  Vince is leaving on the 8th of May for Bolivia.  Allen is marrying Jessica in June.  Abigail and Tracey’s band is doing wonderful in the area.  Ann-Marie is moving down to Florida after graduation to work in a repertory theater.  Charlie and Kate are getting married on June 24th.

It was the last time Dan, Allen, Vince, Curtis, and myself would be together for at least the next two years.  And who knows… maybe forever.

Marie and I learned much about ourselves during our five days in Banner Elk.  We left on Thursday to drive up here to New Jersey.  We took the Blue Ridge Parkway until Roanoke and looked at that city a bit.  Then we took the Skyline Drive to Front Royal.

The drive through Shenandoah was beautiful and misty.  Then we drove through parts of Pennsylvania that I’ve never seen before.  I came down with a horrible head cold during the drive, and so here I am super sick in New Jersey.  I think they want to take me to their family doctor.

March 25, 2000 – Saturday – 10:00 a.m.

Spring has begun.  Curtis is married.  I didn’t get to go.  Pilate is over.

Last Friday Marie and I went to the Virginia Marine Science Museum, and yesterday we went to Yorktown.  I just adore our Friday trips together.

I talked with Dan and Vince over the weekend, as well as Lindy.  Evidently, the wedding was great.  A single month of classes remain.  I’ve got a great deal of work to do.

And I love Marie!

February 26, 2000 – Saturday – 10:14 a.m.

Life has recently been spent in rehearsal, class, work, and with Marie.  We had our most favorite special “friend day” yesterday on a little peer out at Munden Point Park.  It is a perfect place of reflecting light, green trees, and blue sky.  We were barefoot little kids playing in life-giving water and spitting on mosquitoes.  A perfect day, an eternal instant, we wanted to spend our entire lives there.

Sarah emailed me this past week.  I emailed her back and let her know that I did not want to continue to keep in touch, that it was not fair to Marie.

I spoke with Tracey this morning.  Charlie was punched in the face and knocked out cold by a resident.  He felt the school didn’t support him, so he quit his Residence Life job and left Lees-McRae.  He’s staying with his parents, but they don’t want him there.  Kate moved down to Franklin, NC with her parents who recently moved there.

Dan is back in Colorado.

Tracey and Abigail’s Seven Strangers band is making a demo tape.  Everything is supposedly going really well for that little band.

Vince and Natalie have spent the past two weeks in New York with Vince’s dad.

And Lindy is trying to get certified in aerobics.

The Regent community, or rather our small group of Communication School acquaintances, are beginning to put two and two together when it comes to Marie and I.  Many guys have asked Marie if she is seeing someone because she has this “certain glow.”

She tells them yes.

I think it is funny.

I applied for an office manager job for a children’s theater company in Norfolk.  I pray God blesses me with it.

Children are playing outside my window now.  It’s very clear that March begins in four days.  The sounds are in the air.

I apologized to Marie last night for kissing Jeni and Sarah.  I told her I wished I had waited for her alone.  I regret the words and phrases I have written in past journals about other girls, thinking and believing I wanted to spend my life with them, thinking and believing I loved them so deeply.

Forgive me God.  I wish I could erase those pages from my journal.

I love you Jesus.  Thank you for this redemption.  I place my past and my sin before you.  You are holy and beautiful.

December 28, 1999 – Tuesday – 9:30 a.m.

It feels like much time has passed.  Four days remain.

Marie and I had a nice visit on the 23rd.  The next morning we went to Williamsburg with her family, who are adorable by the way.  I want so much to be a part of them.  Please God, may your will be done.

It snowed while we were in Williamsburg, and then I headed north to Waldorf, Maryland.  Every member of my mom’s side of the family was there, and we had a beautiful Christmas.  I left around 2:00 p.m. to head towards Mt. Airy, where I met up with Lindy.  She was her lovely self, and we talked about our wonderful friends.  She has found her home in North Carolina and will probably stay there forever.

Jason, my old youth pastor, sent me a Christmas card, and Tenielle called last night.

I miss Marie so bad.  How wonderful that my heart longs for her.  I will see her in about eight days.

The year is ending.

I’ll write more later.

November 22, 1999 – Monday – 5:08 p.m.

Things are getting…well…I don’t believe there is a word for it.

Marie came to church with me and I think she had a good time.  We talked later in the evening.  It turns out that eight other guys beside myself have expressed their interest in her since she moved here in August.  I see that she is a tall, thin, and beautiful woman of God, but that still surprised and shocked me to hear.  But then she said that all of those other guys didn’t really know the real her, but that I did.  She said she felt overwhelmingly blessed by my friendship and that scares her.  She sees me as a treasure.  So there is really nothing I can do except let go and be myself.  We will constantly try to just be thankful for what we have, whatever that is, and try to not look too deeply into the future.

I called Lindy last night.  It seems like Vince is going to be coming here on Friday.

Life feels to be move so quickly.  It is constantly changing.  The very moment something seems to be a constant, or seems to be secure, poof!, it changes!  Only God’s love and grace is constant.  Which brings me to mention that I believe I’ve felt Him more during the past few months than other times in my life.  I wake up in peace although my world is in chaos.

How excellent and crazy it will be to have Vince here!  My good, good friend, yet he does not really belong in this world.  Maybe he can find a place.

Lord, help me not grow too anxious about anything.  Help me take it a day at a time as it comes.

Thanksgiving is around the corner again.  I haven’t had Thanksgiving with my mom since 1993 and even that wasn’t in our home in Siler City.  How weird that I don’t have a home in Siler City anymore.

It is 5:30 p.m. and it is already dark.  I’m looking forward to seeing tomorrow’s full moon with Marie again in North Carolina.  Due to my rehearsal, we will only have an hour to spend there.  Only three weeks of classes remain.  Not only do I have to complete the semester, but I have to finish all of pre-production for DANG!.

Oh God, what is happening?  I laugh because I have no control.  I see your hand on everything.  I see all is fading save you.  I don’t want to be scared God.  I don’t want to be afraid.  You always seem so close.