June 8, 1997 – Sunday – 5:23 p.m.

Yeah baby!  The weekend was so great!  I am a Promise Keeper!!  A stadium of 60,000 Christian men singing praises to one God!  A night spent in a beautiful Victorian Bed & Breakfast!  Charlie, Vince, and Allen right next to me, plus new friends I made from the trip!  Whew, walls were torn down.

Redemption!  I am free at last!

I will live in purity.  I will read, pray, and fellowship!  I am alive in Christ!!

When I returned home I read chapter 17 from Max Lucado’s God Came NearEternal Instants.  You know, the moments so perfect that the whole universe stands still to notice.  I can think of many right now, and I’ve only been alive for a little over 20 years.

Sitting in the treehouse on Hemlock Hill on a snowy night listening to Braveheart.

Crystal rubbing my neck at the drive-in in Tennessee.

Talking to Emily under the boardwalk in Ft. Walton Beach.

Touching Abigail’s face in McAlister room 206 on Lees-McRae’s campus.

Kissing Jeni in Cincinnati, Ohio while listening to The Wedding Song by Kenny G.

Playing underneath the full moon with Dan and Allen on the back side of Grandfather Mountain.

Holding a curled up Tenielle on her bathroom floor.

Performing “The Mask Skit” at Abundant Life Christian Center.

Eating Wheat Thins and slowly falling asleep next to Jessica under God’s open starry sky.

Playing water guns with Jonathan, Mike, Marcus, and Kevin.

Tubing down Deep Creek with Danny and Peter.

Holding Syndi under the waterfall.

Passing a car in the turning lane with Jonathan.

Helping a lost boy find his mother at Fishnet.

Playing Myst with Vince in New York.

Helping Ryan in and out of the corner tree.

Standing next to the Grand Canyon with Brandon.

Graduating high school and seeing Renee smile at me.

Signing my way through Children of A Lesser God.

Singing with 60,000 men in Knoxville.

And that eternal instant right before I fall asleep each night, when I reflect on the beauty of each amazing day!

Oh wait, and how could I forget, perhaps the most perfect moment of all, riding back from Tennessee with Sharon as Hannah fell asleep in my lap.

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March 29, 1997 – Saturday – 7:08 p.m.

I’m in Ahoskie, NC.  A wonderful little town.  Tracey has a wonderful family and they live in a delightful house.  We arrived here yesterday.  I’ve met all of Tracey’s cousins, aunts, and uncles.  They are amazing Carolina Christian people.

I like it here.

I don’t know what’s what’s happening between Jeni and I.  She gets so close to me.  My body just goes crazy.  It’s hard to control.  She will be gone soon.  I’m simply going to enjoy the presence of my friend.

I’ve remembered how much I love this state and its people.  I’m proud to say my roots are in North Carolina.

I’m here until Monday, then one more month of school.  I am nearly a senior in college.  I can’t believe I’ve made it so far.  During the drive down here, I heard a song over the radio, “When I look into your eyes.”  That song always used to make me think of Ryan.

Things are changing everyday.  I’ve tried to figure out this thing called love.  I don’t know what it is, of that I am sure.  I believe it is giving, but it often hard to find others to give it to.

I can hear the crickets.  The bugs in this room are flirting with the light above me.  Collectibles from Tracey’s past are all around.

And I am not alone.

February 27, 1997 – Thursday – 10:00 a.m.

Today is Curtis’ 21st birthday!

On Tuesday, Jessica and I went for a long hike to the top of a nearby mountain.  We had a good time.  She’s so delightful to spend time with and has such a bright future ahead of her.

Last night, or rather all of yesterday, Abigail…well she…she has become a very dear friend.  We continue to grow closer.  Last night Jeni and she and I prayed again together.  Abigail rested her head on my knee and ran her thumb up and down my fingers as she held my hand.

She has me.

I wonder if she knows it.

Four years ago, I was questioning love.  Veronica was on my mind.  And in reality, I had no idea.

Four years.

Veronica, Ryan, Christi, Jenna, Tenielle, Jeni, Emily, Syndi, Laura, Abigail…

These are the girls who have taught me the most.

Not only have I touched her face, but she tells me that I have touched her heart.  She is not another Ryan or Christi, she is simply my Abigail.  This list will continue to grow and no name will ever disappear.  I want our goodbye to be painful.  I want this to hurt.  I need this to hurt.

I need to share my heart.

December 15, 1996 – Sunday – 2:20 p.m.

Last night, Peter and Timothy came over.  We just talked.  Peter and I talked about old times, playing Nintendo and Transformers, that sort of thing.

Church was good this morning.  It was good to see Marcus.  Tenielle didn’t show up.  After church, Marcus and I went out to eat and then stopped to see Ryan and Amy.  Ryan and I talked about our two very different schools, even though they are only 17 miles apart.  Her eyes and smile are still beautiful.

We didn’t stay long, she told me to give her a call so we could do something over the break.  That shocked me.  Amy has a ring through her nose, that also shocked me.

I hugged them both.

Perhaps we will never say goodbye.

December 10, 1996 – Tuesday – 3:30 p.m.

I awoke this morning with absolutely nothing to do.  That hasn’t happened in a long time. I watched Sense and Sensibility.  I’ve seen that movie three times and I never cried, I just got choked up.  But this morning, I bawled my eyes out.  It was exactly what I needed.  It’s like every emotion that I bottled up from the past semester was released.

After juries last night, Timothy and I went to Sharon’s house.  They had a little Christmas party.  We all received gifts.  They are the greatest family.  So much loves pours out of the house into the lives of others.

We went to Boone this morning and I tried to look up Ryan, but she wasn’t in her room again.

I’m on duty tonight, and then I will leave in the morning.

We will do this again.

November 5, 1996 – Tuesday – 12:15 a.m.

Sunday night I went to visit Ann-Marie, Jeni, and Tracey in their room.  We talked until one in the morning.  They told me all about their recent “girl talk.”  Ann-Marie liked Curtis for a long time, but never said anything.  However, all three of those girls now think Curtis is a big jerk, and they no longer like him now that they know him.

Jeni told me later she doesn’t understand those girls; Abigail, Ann-Marie, and Tracey all say I am the nicest guy, yet I am still alone.

I told Ann-Marie that I really liked her at the beginning of the semester.  She blushed and said, “Really?  I’m sorry…”

We all laughed about it.

They told me that Abigail has returned and that K.C. kissed her over the weekend.  They are a couple now.  I was so happy to hear that.  I prayed for both of them.

Auditions were tonight for Children of A Lesser God.  Auditions were taped and sent to the director in New York.  His name is Mark and he’s a guest director coming down just to direct this show.  It would be crazy if I got the lead!

We had Bible Study tonight at Sharon’s.  Abigail, Tracey, Ann-Marie, Jeni, Dan, Allen, Curtis, Vince, Ellen, Josh, and I all went; Abigail had never been to their house before.  She seemed to have a good time.  We talked a lot; she is such a sweet girl.  I enjoy being her friend so much.  Thank you for her Lord.  She is like another Ryan or Christi in my life; and that’s what I wanted.

I don’t know how to thank you God.  You are so good to me.  You’re doing everything.  You are taking care of it all.  It feels like I don’t really have to do anything.  You are the one producing a good work in me.  I just love you so much.  I give you all the glory, honor, and praise!!

October 29, 1996 – Tuesday – 1:10 p.m.

The show went well last night.  I heard a group of girls talking about it at lunch today.  They pointed at me and smiled and laughed.  I blushed.

I went for a walk with the Lord last night.  We had fun.  It felt perfect.

I ate lunch with Jessica, Shawna and Abigail today.  Abigail struck up a conversation instead of myself trying so hard to.  It was nice.  We ended up talking about the Lord.  I’ve invited all three girls over tomorrow to watch Sense and Sensibility with me.  None of them had seen it yet.

We had a chapel service today at 12:30 p.m.  Rachel put it together.  There was different songs and special readings.  I read a Max Lucado story.  Jeni, Tracey, Rachel, and Derek performed a song.  Those four people were such a huge part of my Freshman year.

Allen was behind me.  He was such a huge part of my Sophomore year; along with Dan, Vince, and Curtis.

I turned and looked at Ann-Marie and Abigail.  It is now my Junior year and they are already important to me.

The day will come when I will say goodbye.  I find that disturbing yet comforting.  I pray that all these names will last beyond my years here.  I am still haunted by the names of Christi, Ryan, Jenna, and Tenielle.

Oh God, your love and these names do last forever.  They are in my heart, my mind, and I will never forget them.  Give me a chance to hold Abigail when she is hurting.  May I be a comfort to her.

Guide Ann-Marie through these years of freedom from home.

And Father, please put a love in me that reaches all people.  Let me be your light.  Let other lights around me grow with me.  May our lights make each other brighter.