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?

 

July 18, 1997 – Friday – 10:30 a.m.

Last night I saw the film Contact.  It is without a doubt the most amazing film I have ever laid eyes upon.  While watching it, my body shook…I couldn’t believe I was actually seeing what I was seeing.  My eyes went on a roller coaster ride, as did my heart, but my soul has never been more frightened.

In fact, the song playing on the radio as I got out of the car, was the same song playing when I returned to the car.  It was almost like the whole movie never happened, or it was some weird out-of-body experience.

Contact is a perfect replica of how each individual on this planet who doesn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus feels as we approach the new millennium.  The world is looking so desperately for an answer, for a God.  The world cries for a savior that’s right before their eyes.  They look to the universe instead to the Creator of the universe.

I hope I can show people their Creator and how much he loves them.  Oh God.  This is scary, I am secure in you, but so many are lost and dying.  So many do not know true love.

Thank you for your true love God.

July 11, 1997 – Friday – 8:00 a.m.

We leave today at 2:00 p.m. to spend 24 hours at Deep Creek near Bryson City, NC.  I just read about my last Deep Creek trip two years ago with Syndi.  We sure knew how to have fun.  I was her “hubby” for that trip.  Each time I visit, I stand above that never-changing scene next to the Pizza Hut in town.  And there I seem to let everything go.  I say goodbye to the previous year and I feel good about leaving it behind in my Book of Days.

Three years ago on this date I was arrived in Deep Creek.  I thought I was there to say goodbye and I did in a way, but I said goodbye to the Deep Creek of the past.  Now I go with a different group of people and with different friends.

Because, I am different.

Lees-McRae and Banner Elk are now a part of me and they have changed me.  This is who I am.  And I have to let it go at the small cliff near Pizza Hut, cause I have to move away in less than 10 months.

I fear my youth is leaving me.  I watched Citizen Kane yesterday.  His childhood was stolen from him.

“Deep Creek” may very well be my “Rosebud.”

July 7, 1997 – Monday – 1:25 a.m.

Wow, what a recent couple of days.

Thursday evening I hung out with Lindy, Ann-Marie, Tracey, and Jeni at the Mill Pond.  Jeni and I found sticks and pretended they were swords.  Then we started wrestling.  I had a good time, and right now I can’t remember what I did later that night.

Friday, the fourth of July, came and for the first half of the day I waited around for Vince, so he and I and Allen could do something.  But he went out to eat with Laura and never came back.  So, I just left with Tracey and Jeni.  We went to the Tweetsie Railroad parking lot just to see what was going on, then we went to The Farm House to see Derek and Dawn, and then we ended up at the dollar theater and watched Sling Blade.  Wow, a great film!

Saturday morning began with me trying to get a five foot snake out of one of my residents’ bed.  That is a story in and of itself, but we finally got it out.

Also, Vince confronted Laura about their physical issues.  She ran away from him on Saturday.  Then she returned and brought him a box full of everything he ever gave her.  Charlie came over and Vince, Allen, Charlie and myself had a big talk about relationships.  Vince and Laura got things worked out, but Charlie and Kate…oh boy!

After we talked for a while on Saturday, we went to Johnson City, TN and walked around the mall.  We ate pizza, saw Men in Black, a completely stupid movie, and Charlie stopped to look at engagement rings.  It was weird.  They’ve broken up, but he’s looking at engagement rings.  That stage of my life seems so far away from me right now.

Charlie is a mess, but Kate seems to love her newly found freedom away from him.

Sunday (today) was Homecoming Sunday.  Our new pastor was there.  His name is Brent.  Jim was also there.  There was a lot of food, so I ate a good lunch.

A girl, a visitor, caught my eye and we smiled at each other; so delightful when a new face comes along.

A lot of guys from the church made plans to play tennis that afternoon, and we did, but then Charlie came by with a hitchhiker and asked me to go with the two of them to Lenoir.

There is a very detailed story that I must explain, but I’ll do that in the morning hopefully.

Dan is back.  He looks like Jesus with his long hair and beard.  We’ve had so much fun already.  He’s staying with me.

More to tell, but I’m so sleepy.

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?

June 2, 1997 – Monday – 1:25 a.m.

It’s early in the morning.  What an evening!  June 1, 1997.

After the evening service, Crystal, Clifton’s sister, invited me to go to a drive-in movie with her down the mountain near the Tennessee state line.  We saw Volcano, one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.

I had never been to a drive-in before.  We laid out on sleeping bags, on our stomachs, which caused my neck to hurt really bad.  Crystal gave me a massage as the credits rolled.  Then she ran her fingers through my hair.

We went to Wal-Mart and played with toys until it closed at midnight.

I had a good time and we talked pretty deeply.  She says she is away from God.  She doesn’t even consider herself a Christian anymore.  She told me about a lot of things that happened when she went away to college in Asheville.  She said she lost her innocence.  I wonder if that means she isn’t a virgin anymore.  I didn’t condemn her.  I was just there and I listened.

We came back to my room and listened to some Rebecca St. James and Cindy Morgan.  She said she couldn’t do it.  She couldn’t give herself back to God.

I prayed with her.  And I hugged her goodbye at her car door.

Then she said, “I never should have grown up and gone off to college.”

Oh God.

Help her.

Help me.

All I know is that you love us.  There is evil in the world, but you still love everyone.  I want nothing but your love.

May 28, 1997 – Wednesday – 10:45 p.m.

I watched Ben-Hur today.  I cried so hard.  Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!  I love you more now Jesus.

I also worked a little in the summer theater box office, getting it ready, etc.  Church was nice tonight.  Hannah has become a wonderful little friend.  She is 11-years-old now, the age Veronica used to be.  Oh, how young I must have been when I was 16.

We went out to eat after the service and I tried to pay for my meal, but Sharon wouldn’t have it.  That family has taken such good care of me these page three years.

It’s hard to know what to write these days.  Vince and Allen and I are the only ones on campus.  We have this whole place to ourselves it feels.  Dan will arrive in a little over a month.  Curtis may never return.

Charlie and Kate are still together and seem to be doing well.

I have been at Heaton long enough to watch people grow up and grow older.  And people there say that I am still getting taller.

Josh is in pain from his surgery and frequent doctor visits.  How I wish I could comfort him.

The view outside my window is not the same.  I now have six windows instead of one.  Three closets instead of one.  Two sofas and a chair instead of zero.  My own bathroom where my toothbrush is now kept, instead of in my closet.  I have keys that will let me into every room on campus.  I have been given power and responsibility.  It doesn’t feel like I’ve changed, but I know I’m not the same person I was when I first began keeping this journal.

There are no girls here to think about.  If I do think of one, it is Jessica, out in Colorado.  What a wonderful friend!

I need to shave.  My wisdom teeth don’t hurt as much.  Of course, they aren’t there anymore, but you know what I mean.  My teddy bear is still with me.  I didn’t get to see Jenna over the break, but I did see Emily oddly enough.

It’s funny how moments grow in value, the older and rarer they become.

I wonder who is thinking of me tonight.  Jessica has a new window to stare out of, new mountains all around her, but I simply moved to the other side of campus.

Eleven months and one week now.

Time.

We’re just measuring the first part of eternity.  Like one yard stick compared to the entire globe and beyond.  Similar to my holiness when compared to God’s holiness.  I hate to leave this place, but I know I must.  I need to go out and create new things.  To challenge.  To change.  To set free.  To teach others how to fly.

If I try to stay here in this perfect place, I know God will put sharp objects in the nest, painfully forcing me out.

What can be beyond here?

I’ll soon have new names to write in these pages.  New faces.  New stories who will join in with mine.  New paths.  Perhaps other red lights.  Perhaps…Her.

Prepare me God.

Prepare the place where I will land.  I give my life to the work of your hands.  Mold me.  Shape me.  Make me.

Thirty minutes until the 29th of May.

Nine years until I’m 29.

Seven minutes have passed since I lifted my pen from the number nine.

I can’t seem to think of an exit line.

Good night.