September 20, 1998 – Sunday – 8:28 p.m.

My life has gone on a crazy ride recently.  To begin, my Communication Theory class blew my mind.  God is definitely using this class to deal with the way I think and see the world.  Perhaps I’ll go into detail with that later.

I worked Wednesday afternoon and that night we had drama practice.  It went okay, but these kids really have no idea of how to do this thing, but I guess it’s my job to teach them.  Nevertheless, we all had fun.

Sometimes at Regent I feel like I just don’t fit in.  There is a Law School and a Theology School and I feel like some of those students in their suits walk by and judge me and my duck-taped sandals.

I worked all day Friday, it was a bit rough.  I just wasn’t happy with all that was around me.  But once I got off work, all that changed.

Dawn, a coworker, needed a ride home.  She’s insanely beautiful and a lot of fun, she actually reminds me Emily.  Well, I was taking her home and she wanted to stop and get some pepperoni rolls at a nearby bakery, so we did.  We ate there together and talked and it was just simple fun.  I shared a meal with an insanely beautiful girl and sometimes that is all a man needs to make it through the week.  We drove to her house, and I was just being me, you know the one that often feels like he doesn’t fit in at Regent, and she was just cracking up a storm, telling me I was the funniest thing in the world.

Thank you Dawn!  You saved my life that day.

Then, I went back to Regent to watch some of the student films that were being screened.  I saw three and they were all pretty good.  Then I left to go watch One True Thing at the Regal Cinemas.  That movie changed my whole perspective.

One day, my own mom is going to start dying.  I love her so much and that day is many years away, but still, we will all die one day.  And the movie taught me that I have so much here in Virginia Beach to love and care about.

I haven’t been doing that well enough.

I cried the entire way home from the movie.  I just a big baby in the car.  I didn’t like who I was and I wanted to change.  I asked God to forgive me.

I arrived home, slept, and got up early yesterday morning and left with some members of the youth group to go to King’s Dominion.  I spent most of the day with our leaders Tammy and Jose, as well as Kimberly and Lauren.  Kim is 15 and Laura is 13 and we eventually split off and it was just Kimberly and Lauren and me.  And I had the best day with those two.

I just loved whatever was around me.  Kim and Lauren and I talked the entire day.  I was a 22-year-old graduate student who got to feel 14 again.  God was giving me a gift and I was reminded of who I was and what I’m called to.  God knows me better than I know myself.

Kimberley reminded me a lot of Ryan, my first crush, and Kimberley said I make everything so much fun that she wants to do everything with me now, even shopping.  Lauren was an absolute sweetheart and I now have two dear new friends.

What a lovely thing that is, a friend.

One True Thing revealed to me how I had needlessly complicated my life.  I’d forgotten about the simple sounds, simply joys, simple tastes, and simple smiles of the good life.

On Saturday, September 19, 1998, I became young again.

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September 13, 1998 – Sunday – 8:39 a.m.

Today is my mother’s birthday.  She turns 45.  I just called her.  She has a job working for the city, and Henry is going to class and working part-time at the local Wal-Mart.  I’m sure this would make no sense to the world.  Henry had a great job as a detective at UNC and now he is pushing carts.  But they are not of this world and he is where God wants him to be.

Nate is now in 8th grade.  I switched schools in 6th grade and that was rough, I’m sure switching in 8th grade is even more difficult.

Mom says they will stay down there for Thanksgiving.  She wants us to come down, but I’ve already made plans, so I can’t.

Yesterday after work I auditioned for a sci-fi film being produced independently by some Regent students.  It is something they hope to sell and turn into a series.  Call backs are next Wednesday; we’ll see.  The audition was so much fun.  I do love this stuff.

Yesterday I saw two movies, Rounders and Simon Birch.  They were both fantastic!  Sitting behind me in the theater was a huge group of guy friends and it made me miss Vince, Dan, Allen, Curtis, Justin, Charlie, and Josh so much.  I just miss laughing with them and letting the world fade away.

 

September 2, 1998 – Wednesday – 11:56 p.m.

Another September 2nd has come and gone again.  Already September.  Ten days until the six year anniversary of that night in the balcony with Ryan and the others watching Jason perform two roles in Camelot.

Such good days.

Monday classes were fun.  I have definitely found my place and can that God destined me to attend this school here and now so long ago.  Tuesday afternoon I went to see Saving Private Ryan again, only this time with two girls I met at the swing club, Chris and Nicole.  Nicole is 24 and Chris is 22.  After class on Monday, Nicole and I walked back to the Regent Apartments together.  It is long trail through the woods and we had a nice chat.  And after the movie yesterday, we hung out together in Nicole’s apartment for a while, just talking about movies.

I got an email from Sarah.  She says she went to Banner Elk Christian Fellowship on Sunday and plans to continue.  That is a good thing.  She seems to be doing okay, but her email had an echo of loneliness in it.

I sent Doc an email, just thanking her for Lees-McRae and telling her what was going on. She sent a lovely poem back to me and said she posted that email for all to read.

I purchased the widescreen version of Titanic yesterday and watched it last night with Matt.

I couldn’t help but think of my days with Sarah.

I miss the sound of her voice.

August 21, 1998 – Friday – 11:30 a.m.

Yesterday after work I watched a movie I had rented, and then I went to the mall to buy some straight pins and maps for my walls.  I put the maps up and put in pins representing all the places I had been on this planet.

I enjoyed that time immensely.

David came over last night.  I cooked some burgers and we had more than enough left over.  We watched That Thing You Do!.

I got a speeding ticket the day before.  Fifty in a 30; yuck!

Oh well.  This style of living, this apartment, this place and the way it works, this twenty somethings style of life, it is so different from what I’m used to.  I’m thankful for my job and I’m so thankful for Parkway Temple, but all of this is very new to me.  I’m finding my way though.  I have a place where I shop for groceries.  I have a beach I visit.  I have a mall where I shop, a membership at a video store, and a favorite movie theater where I go to dream.  I know a decent place to get a haircut.

And I have this apartment with maps reminding me of all the places I am from.

August 16, 1998 – Sunday – 9:10 a.m.

I called Sharon last night, left a message and she called me back.

I miss them so much.  All that is in that house is what I want for my own life.  Sharon told me how Hannah is taller than Laura now, that Hannah cooks breakfast sometimes and can crack an egg with one hand.

It is August again.  I know exactly how Lees-McRae and Banner Elk feel this time of year. RA training begins tomorrow, but without me for the first time in three years.  I remember my first room there, the window, the view of the ground, and that old spoon that someone threw out.

I called Abigail two nights ago at her house in Tega Cay, SC.  We had such a nice talk and she really seemed to genuinely care about me.  She was so happy that I called and she said my name they way she used to say it.  I love the way she says it.

I do have some good friends on this planet.  Thank you God.

Yesterday was a great day.  I worked with Dawn, a beautiful girl who just turned 18 and graduated from high school.  She is engaged.  It was only the two of us working yesterday.  She seemed to open up to me a little bit.  I pray I can have a good friend in her.  I pray that when classes begin I can meet some people close to my age that my spirit really connects with.

I went to the movies alone yesterday.  I saw The Mask of Zorro.  It was alright, but Saving Private Ryan and The Truman Show are the best movies I’ve seen this year.

I’ve been writing a lot recently.  I want to be in another show.  It feels like I’m starving, not having a project to work on.

Today is the last day I will ever be 21-years-old.

Time to go enjoy it!

August 12, 1998 – Wednesday – 1:10 a.m.

The 11th of August was an amazing day!  I woke up, went for a prayer walk around the campus, and read and studied my Bible until I went to work at the bookstore, where I trained with David.  I went to see Saving Private Ryan, and then went to a girl named Cindy’s house and helped her move.  I came back to my apartment and had an awesome prayer time with Matt, my roommate and two other students named Jeff and Jason.  God showed up, cleansed my heart, and I felt forgiven and fantastic!

Saving Private Ryan was beyond fantastic!

“Earn this.”

Jesus died for me, but no matter what I do, I can never do enough to earn this grace he has freely given me.  It is his to give, not mine to earn.  For some odd reason, I have found favor with him.

And he just told me that I was already worth dying for.

So, he is definitely worth living for.

July 28, 1998 – Tuesday – 8:30 a.m.

We went to a pretty awesome church service Sunday morning.  I sat with a girl named Amber there and back.  We had some cool talks.  That afternoon we had a cookout and visited with some missionaries from South Africa.

The Lord laid something on my heart that night and I called Sarah’s home in Winston-Salem.  She was at Lees-McRae though.  She went up there to see Starqueen and visit her friends.  So I called Ann-Marie’s room and she was there.  When we talked it was as if we were strangers and had nothing in common.  I told her that when I was with her I wasn’t a complete person and I’m sorry for any thing I did.

She just basically said “okay.”

We visited a lion park on Monday and I got the chance to play with some huge lion cubs.  One bit me on my bicep.  I have a scar.  It was awesome!  We then went shopping and I bought a bracelet similar to the one PK wears in The Power of One.

We had a funny little “Christmas in July” party last night.  Everyone thinks it is cold here, but it feels just like a Banner Elk summer.  But I guess July is the cold season in the Southern Hemisphere.

While in the lion park, I spent most of my time with Jessica.  She is the sweetest girl.  She’s 17 and from Georgia.  We shared some nice conversations and I thank God for her daily.

I’ve discovered that I have a lot of pride in my life.  It keeps me from listening and learning from other people.  Before I leave here I want to give all that pride away to God. I fear it keeps me from growing.

I love this mission thing.  Teen Mania functions in a way that I can’t relate to, but I have molded to its ways.

I’m looking forward to the world of film.  I want that to be my mission field.  I hope I can understand that world.  I just want to know my Jesus and understand him better and share him with those who haven’t heard of his love.

I am now on a bus and in just a minute or two we will be headed to Piet Retief in South Africa.  It is about a five or six hour bus ride.  Later on we will drive into Swaziland.  “It’s a whole other country,” to quote Forrest Gump.  I’m excited for the long bus ride!  I just want to stare out the window.  After our final ministry days, we will go on a full out African Safari!

Not much time is left.  Only about a week and a day.  I have many plane rides to look forward to and a new job waiting on my when I return.  But for now, I’m in Africa.  I don’t know when I’ll be back, so I’m going to enjoy it while I can.

Humble me God.  Melt my pride.  I just want you.  Thank you for these days.  You are so big and I am so small.

You are all I have.

You are all I need.

You are all I want.