January 8, 1999 – Friday – 8:20 a.m.

Tracey just left for home.  She stayed the night, along with Vince and Lindy, who are both still here.  They came in last night.  We visited Justin, who was a little sick, and also went to see Christin.

Oh, how I love my friends!  They are so good and so good to me.

I have to go to work soon, but it has been a while since I’ve written, so I just wanted to jot something down.  On Wednesday we had our first Drama meeting of the year.  To begin, I’m going to lead the kids through a six-week discipleship course.  Everything is wonderful!  Classes start soon!

I love you Jesus!

 

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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 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!

December 13, 1998 – Sunday – 1:57 p.m.

Our tech rehearsal went well at church yesterday.  I gave some great moving speech and then everyone did a perfect job.  We open on Friday.

Last night was a wonderful evening.  I had a little slumber party with Christin and Sterling, we stayed up late and watched Seven Years in Tibet and Titanic.  What a delightful time we had.  They dressed me up as a girl and we even played the new Zelda game!

We stayed up until two in the morning.  That was my 7th time watching Titanic and it’s only been out one year.

A year ago I was holding Sarah, but last night Christin laid her beautiful face on a pillow she had placed upon my chest and I ran my fingers through her hair.

It’s been a good year.

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 12, 1998 – Thursday – 10:57 p.m.

Things are moving faster now.

My greatest fear is that I will lose the time to remember.

My closest friends here are the age of my little brother.

Look at what I have become.

A role model, simple as that.

But the ones I am an example for…

I want to be their age again.

I don’t want to grow up.

But I do want to live.

The storm is already brewing again.

Even now I remind those I love here that I will be leaving.

What can be beyond here?

When will life let me catch my breath?

When can I share this lily pad?

When can I be a role model to my own blood?

When will the others become alive?

When will Emily forgive and forget?

When will my father live in God’s will?

When will Sarah let God in?

When will I have kept all my promises, and drive away into my memories?

October 22, 1998 – Thursday – 10:00 p.m.

I talked with Sharon tonight. Snow was in the air over Avery County this morning.  I wasn’t there to see it. October 27th was the first snowfall of my last LMC winter.  I didn’t realize how true that statement was when I wrote it nearly a year ago.

I’ve realized when I write these words in these spiral-bound books that they will never go away.  All 13 books are in my sight at this moment.  They sit on a shelf in my closet in front of me.  They are a record of nearly the past six years of my life.

I put Christmas lights up in my room this evening, and it caused me to miss the wintery feel of Banner Elk so much.  So, another day is closing.  One of the final ones for Tammie and Jose in this land.

I turned in four copies of the first draft of “Eyebrows” to the school’s team of producers yesterday.  They said I was the first of the final four to turn it in.  They seemed pleased and impressed.

And so God moves me on.  My memories fight with the present moment every day.  My heart questions why we can’t go back, but it also longs to see what is ahead.

I have no one to really talk to here.  I miss Vince and our deep talks to Counting Crows’ “August and Everything After.”  We had a ritual.  We would start with track four, “Perfect Blue Buildings,” and play it through to the end.  We would turn off the lights and stare up at his glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling, most of which were placed there by Laura, and we’d talk of God, love, and beauty until the midnight hour.

I miss Dan and I pondering over the questions of life while playing “Tetris 2” on the Super Nintendo.

I miss riding in Curtis’ car and staring out the window in deep thought.  He’s always ask me what was on my mind.  I’d always tell him.  I felt listened to.

I miss Allen disagreeing with my way of thinking.  He’d ask my advice and then go do the opposite.  But somehow it still made me feel loved by him.

And I miss Charlie, the one I’ve known the longest.

But God needs me elsewhere.  His breath is blowing me forward.  So, I continue and I do this not for me, for all I want is heaven, but God asks me to wait and spend more time with his creation first.

I cannot argue with that.  So that is what I will do.

But how can I live in today when I long for the past?  How can I make new friends when all I want are my old ones?  How can I help save others from a world I can’t admit I’m in?

Why did you make me this way God?  To find comfort in asking questions and not needing the answers.  Is that what faith is?  I don’t need the answers Lord, I just need to know you are listening.

I miss you.  I miss the eyes I’ve never seen.  You comfort me more than my memories and my Teddy Bear from Tenielle.  I want to hold you instead as I fall asleep.  Be with me tonight sweet Jesus, and take me to be with you.  I want to awake in heaven, but if I’m here tomorrow, I will laugh and play in your love.

Heaven feels closer tonight.

How perfect your grace is.