October 15, 2000 – Sunday – 8:26 p.m.

It has been a week since I have written. We are now in the middle of the tenth month, what an amazing time! It feels like much has happened.

I just returned from visiting Jean, one of the employees from Acoustic Works. I feel so safe talking with her about love and relationships because she is married. We had dinner and played with Katie, the adorable little girl she was babysitting. Katie seemed to enjoy the way I would make my hair tickle her forehead; she has such a beautiful smile.

This past weekend were our shooting days for The Accuser. I directed a fantastic cast and crew on Ft. Wool, which is an island in the middle of Hampton Roads. Jeremy played his role so well that he banged his head open and cut up his leg. He’s okay though. I can’t wait to see the dailies!

I feel so at home when I’m directing a film. It puts me and all my thoughts, hopes, memories, and feelings together in such a way that everything of who I am, and who God has made me to be, completely makes sense.

This past week I also wrote a letter to Sarah. It is difficult to describe what came over me, but I told her that I loved her fully and unconditionally for who she is, and that she is one of the few people in the world whom I love in such a way. I can explain my love for others away, but I cannot explain my love for Sarah away. It simply exists, it is there, I cannot deny it, and it blesses my soul so much.

Also this past week I picked up a rat for The Accuser shoot. It takes place in a dungeon, so I thought a rat would add some atmosphere. The crew named her Rosie, and I decided to keep her. She is in her cage in my room now.

This coming Thursday kicks off the college-age small group that I will be leading. I’m so excited. I want God to show up. I want him to change us and this whole area.

Thanks for a great week God, you are so good!

June 30, 2000 – Friday – 6:50 a.m.

I haven’t written in two weeks.  I did that on purpose, for writing makes me focus too much on myself.  I need to be more selfless.

Much has changed in the past two weeks.  As I both feared and predicted after Marie returned to New Jersey five weeks ago, she came back to Virginia Beach and broke up with me.  It was clear that she’d been heavily influenced by her parents to let me go.  Her parents grew very uncomfortable with the fact that I needed student loans to pay for school and that I used a credit card to pay for making my thesis film.

So my girlfriend broke up with me because her parents think I’m broke, and then my job gave me a raise, a promotion, a salary, and benefits, which means I’m now making $300 more a week than I had been making.  Hmm.  I just started humming Alanis Morissette’s Ironic. 

I went to Charlie and Kate’s wedding last weekend and had one of the most blessed weekends of my life.  I’ve also decided to do Marie a favor and not attend Avalon Hills anymore.  The minister who married Charlie and Kate told me about a church in my area called Forefront, so I’ll check that out.

Here I am again.  June is over.  July is here.

The summer is flying by.

June 4, 2000 – Sunday – 10:30 p.m.

Whew…life!

I miss Marie.

Good things are happening, but I do feel separated from Regent University and from my film Dang!.

Townley, Andy, Jean, and I had a great trip to D.C. this past week.  I really got the chance to talk with them about Jesus.  Jean is a Christian, but she is sad because her husband Chad isn’t very affectionate toward her.  I know how she feels.  Marie isn’t terribly affectionate towards me either.

I helped the team put the Glo-Cycling package together up at Langley Air Force Base.  It starts tomorrow.  The means I be spending half the week cycling and getting paid for it.

It is all a bit odd to me.  I’m surrounded by people desperately trying to make a buck and I’m just not passionate about money.  Sure I need it, and I’m very much in debt, but what is most important to me are spiritual matters, matters of the heart.  These people at work are successful, but I feel they are losing their souls in the process.

I went to Rob and Mary Jo’s wedding on Saturday.  It was the most beautiful and Christlike wedding that I’ve ever attended.  I see more and more each day how the only thing that matters is Jesus.  Forgive me God for my apathy.

Jean is selling her house.  It is in a fine neighborhood only ten minutes from downtown Norfolk.  It’s small, I’ve wondered if I should buy it; I don’t know, I’ve also been thinking about building a log cabin out in rural Chesapeake or Suffolk.  I have exactly one year until I’m through with my movie and my thesis.  I will graduate and have to move out of the Regent apartments.  I really don’t want to pay rent again.  Please reveal your will to me oh God.

It is a beautiful and cool night.  I have an interesting job.  There is a girl I dearly love in New Jersey.  This evening I had some fantastic barbecue with the Acoustic Works Xtreme Fitness team.  In less than a month it will have been two years since I moved here.  Hmmm…life.

May 3, 2000 – Wednesday – 12:05 p.m.

I’m not in my room, I’m under a pine tree on Lake James Drive near Regent University.  I rode my bike here.  It is nice to get away from my room.

I’ve been reading Henderson The Rain King and have enjoyed it immensely.

Vince leaves the country in five days.  I’ve tried to call him, but he wasn’t home.  I’m now at the point of my life where I am no longer a full-time student, and, to be honest, I don’t know what to do with myself.  I’m trying to be patient.  I’m trying to wait on God.  I’m trying to get a job, but I don’t think I’m doing it very well.  I feel like I’m losing my identity.

Marie and I, well, it is obvious that our relationship is changing form.  God please have your way with us and melt all my insecurities away.  I have grown to not like who I am these days.  I have this opportunity to spend three weeks on the road with Dan and Theresa, and I think that would be good for me, but I feel like I should be trying to find a job though.  That pressure is mainly coming from Marie and her family.

For the first time in my life, I’ve met a mother who doesn’t like me.  After Marie’s mom spent more time with me, she thinks I’m the wrong one for Marie and she has told her as much.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with that.  I’ve left my church to attend church with Marie, and Marie’s church just doesn’t believe the same things, spiritually speaking, that I do.

I feel as though I’m losing myself who I am.

I want to be with Marie.  I love her so much.  I guess all the differences and the road blocks scare me.  I’m just waiting to see what God is going to do.

I want to start working on more films, but I have this huge debt hanging over my head, so I feel I must put my focus on that.

An old married couple just rode by on their bikes.  Will I ever become that?

This is a nice little grove in the trees; similar to Emily’s crying place in Crestview, but that  has since been torn down to make way for suburban sprawl.

Perhaps I should put all my efforts toward doing video work on the mission field.  That way I can travel the world.

I want to drive out west and spend many days thinking and writing in my journal.

I miss writing in my journal.

I’m going to ride my bike around some more.

April 28, 2000 – Friday – 7:53 a.m.

April is ending.  As are many other things.  I am no longer a full-time student, and Marie and I have just come through a really difficult time.

I think the past week really traumatized me, so much so that I can hardly remember the harsh words that were spoken to me.  I feel my mind is trying to forever forget them, like a scab covering a wound and allowing new skin to grow.  I’m tempted to not write about this at all, but I should put something down in these pages.

Clearly hurt and rejected after spending a week with my friends in North Carolina, a vulnerable Marie and I visited her family.  And while they are kind in action, I didn’t have a great time these past few days in New Jersey, one, because I was sick, and two, because there just wasn’t an abundance of joy and peace, at least not when you compare it to the amount of joy and peace in all my friends in Banner Elk.  So, once we headed back to Virginia, all of that pain and defensiveness bubbled up in Marie, and she became very critical toward me and of all my friends.

She said it was unnatural and immoral of me to have as many female friends as I do.  And, as if that didn’t hurt enough, she then accused me of only being involved with the youth group at Parkway because I was sexually attracted to all the girls in the youth group.  She said that my friendship with girls like Sterling, Christin, and Kimberly was inappropriate and that I should be ashamed of myself.

Much more was said, many more stabs were taken at my heart, but I pulled off the road, got out of the car and found a distant ball park, where I sat on the bleachers and stared off into the landscapes of Delaware, trying to make sense of what had just happened with this girl I want to marry.

I don’t know if I’ve ever been more hurt.  Sterling, Christin, and Kimberly and their families and I all adore each other.  We are fellow believers together.  They take care of me, I like spending time with them, and yes Christin crushed on me for a while, but nothing ever happened.  I took her to her prom and I didn’t even kiss her.  The whole reason I didn’t pursue a relationship with her was because she was too young.  I sat there alone for a long time, and eventually heard from the Lord that Marie’s accusations were false.

So, I returned to the car.  By the look on her face, it was clear she knew she was out of line.  She apologized.  We drove home.

I prayed silently as we drove, and God gave me a very clear answer that I love my friends, and the fact that many of them are women is not a sin.  What Marie said to me reveals much more about her heart and mindset than it did mine, and, after spending a week with her family, it’s clear to see that she was raised in such a negative and narrow mindset.  We both got to experience where each of us came from these past two weeks, and the fact that we both came from two different words really broke us.  She felt like she didn’t belong with my group of friends and possibly even felt like she doesn’t have as good of friends as I do, and I felt rejected by (and bored with) her family.

So there it is.  God is breaking us.  Or maybe he’s sharpening us.

Perhaps this will make us a stronger couple than we were before.  Perhaps we won’t be able to recover from this.  Time will tell.

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 9, 2000 – Thursday – 5:15 p.m.

Oh how the weeks go by.

I’m here in my Virginia Beach apartment.  The weather is nice.  I’m listening to Rebecca St. James, and I just got finished looking at some old journals.

My! how I have changed!

I want my life to be made up of God, Marie, and film/theater.  In that order.

I once was a child, and I praise God for such days.  And I think I’m also thankful that I have such days written down.  My emotions definitely feel more stable at this age of 23.  Hopefully these pages will no longer contain fleeting crushes.

Marie is my one true special friend for all of time.  Tomorrow is our special friend day.  We will spend it at Munden Point Park again.  It’s down near the North Carolina state line.  The water we sit by flows into North Carolina.

Even though I love North Carolina, I like being in Virginia with Marie.  You know what they say, Virginia is for lovers.

I have applied for another job; this time with the Virginia Opera.  Hopefully something will become of it.

Pilate opens tonight.  This is not my most favorite show I’ve ever been a part of, but it is an original work, so that’s worth something in and of itself.  I’m the first person to ever play the character of Luke.

In the Flesh opens at the end of March.  That means I’ll have done three original, never-before-attempted roles while here at Regent.  I’m not sure if I’ll try to do any theater next year.  I’d like to spend the next year just working and writing.

Please have your way with me God.

May the summer move slowly.

Bless all my friends as they marry each other this summer.

And take care of sweet 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.

January 24, 2000 – Monday – 1:35 p.m.

Okay, let me just slow down enough to write in my journal.

Marie just stopped by on her way to class.  We are having dinner together in four hours, a special soup from her mother.  Marie is my best friend ever.  My beautiful love.  The woman I want to spend every day of my life with.  I’ve walked down many different paths and have had other relationships with girls, but they have all guided me here to these days in Virginia Beach with her.

We go to church together now and it has pulled me away from Parkway Temple, where I attended for the past 18 months.  We have tried Bethel Christian Fellowship, but I don’t think that is for us, so we’re going to try Avalon Hills next Sunday.

I am amazed and overwhelmed every day by the love of both Marie and Jesus.

This past Friday we drove around the Bacon’s Castle area of southeast Virginia.  There were so many little village type towns out there.  On February 11th we are driving down to Wilmington, NC, where I hope to move with her in a year and a half’s time.  Her birthday is in July and inside I’m praying that that is when I will ask her to marry me.

She is the sweetest and grandest of all women.  She views life through the eyes of a poet.  Her faith and relationship with Jesus is so true and steadfast.  She is a warrior and a little girl.  She is faithful and true.  She is beyond anything I could have dreamed to share my life with.  She listens to me, holds me, comforts me, prays for me, and loves me.

She amazes me.

Thank you Jesus.

January 23, 2000 – Sunday – 7:15 a.m.

It snowed last night.  The second snowfall in the past week.  And now I realize it has been a week since I’ve written.  It feels like a day.  Wow.

Things are good.  God is blessing me.  The Dang! footage looks great.  We will begin editing next week.  It also looks like there is a good chance that at least one of my screenplays will be selected for a funded production this summer.

Last night the roots of Marie and my’s relationship ran deeper.  It’s hard to write about the two of us because we have our own little book we started together.  We tell each other we love each other now.  And it is a very painful and scary thing; almost to the point that it is comforting.

We visited both sets of Grandparents, she even met my Dad last Sunday.  He acted like the total antisocial butthole that he is.  It was difficult, but it is also nice dealing with all this buried junk inside me with Marie by my side.  I’m learning to see it all through her eyes.

The purity outside reminds me of God’s fresh grace.