June 12, 1999 – Saturday – 4:51 p.m.

I feel like crying…crying because I don’t have best friend here.  At the moment, I feel so very much alone, very misunderstood, and I never feel like I can fully relax into the friendships I have here.

I talked to Justin, Abigail, Tracey, and Sarah the other night.  They sounded so good.  Sarah and I are all healed and that completely amazes me.  But these dear people are all far away.  Justin is in town, but at camp.  I leave in a week, so I won’t get to see him.

I’ll soon be around a new group of people.  Before I even depart, I guy I don’t know from Richmond is staying with me for a week while he helps out on a film shoot.

Oh Jesus…what is going on?

How am I doing?

I feel life has become so different and I don’t want it to be.  Is it my perspective or are things really changing?  Am I still young?  What do you want me to do?  Where have all my simple joys gone?  I am missing them so.  Why all this stress?  Life didn’t use to be this way.

Mom called me the other night.  She and Henry are having problems in their marriage.  They say they’re spiritual attacks because of their involvement with the Brownsville Revival and they are going to counseling.  I hope they’re still good.

There is a family reunion happening at Deep Creek, but I can’t go due to the film shoot.

Change.  I both love and hate it.

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May 13, 1999 – Thursday – 10:37 p.m.

My first year of graduate school is over.  Summer has arrived.  I have four truly treasured moments from the past year.  Kimberly telling me that I made her feel alive.  My aunt Patty singing the song she wrote about my grandpa.  Vince, Lindy, Tracey, and Justin talking over our random meal of chili, fish sticks, and spaghetti.  Finally, the night at the ice rink with all the teenagers.

Tonight I ate dinner with Gina and Chris at Ruby Tuesdays and then came back to watch Titanic.  I cried…again.  It’s good to know the movie still moves me after eight times.  I spent a little time with the girls over at Nicole’s place as well.  And I told Mary Jo about my weekend at Lees-McRae and how wonderful it was to see Sarah.

I find joy in writing her name.

May 11, 1999 – Tuesday – 1:15 p.m.

My four days in Banner Elk were wonderful.  Friday, after we picked up Kerstin in Johnson City, we ate at Applebees.  There we met our waitress Celina, whom we ended up praying with before we left.  We went hiking that afternoon with Jessica and Curtis’ new girlfriend Megan.  It was so beautiful out there on the back side of Grandfather Mountain.

Megan is so delightful.  We became instant friends just like how everyone became instant friends with Kerstin!

We saw Sunny that night in Boone with Abigail, Dan, Grayson, Josh, his dad, and I think that’s about it.

Sarah had a lead in the show and did so well; she looked absolutely beautiful.  I ran up to her after the show and embraced her so tightly.  I spent time with her on graduation Sunday as well.  Our relationship has been healed.  Love has intervened.  Time has surrounded us.  We are great now!

I took Kerstin back Saturday morning.  It was so lovely to see her outside of Regent.  She so beautiful and so much fun!

On Saturday I hung out with everybody I could.  That night I slept in Lindy’s room.  We just talked and talked until we drifted off to sleep.

Church seemed the same as always at Heaton.  It was great, but no longer for me.  All the kids have grown up.  It was weird being there.

And then graduation came.  What a wondrous day.  Tons of hugs.  Tons of pictures.  Tons of smiles.  I loved seeing Ashley, I forgot how much she makes me laugh.  A perfect day…and I had to drive away from it all at 4:30 p.m.

I don’t think any of us realized what truly took place on that day.  Dan, Vince, Jaime, Tracey, Lindy, Allen, and Curtis graduated.  Justin is transferring.  Abigail, Jessica, Anne-Marie, Ashley, and Josh remain.  What will become of our futures?

As I drove back seven hours toward the east coast, I found comfort in my home here.  Voicemail messages from Kimberly greeted me when I arrived.  David took me out to eat.  I was only gone four days, but I was missed.  Now summer classes have begun.  I have homework to do.

It’s already May 11th

Hmmm.

Must mean I’m having fun.

May 7, 1999 – Friday – 8:02 a.m.

I am now at Sharon’s home in Newland, NC.

Wednesday night was the opening night of the Regent University Film Festival.  The films were actually pretty good, especially The Window, which I bought a copy of.

On Tuesday I took Kerstin to the airport.  She is going to Johnson City, TN, so we decided to meet up while I’m here in the mountains.

I’m going backwards now…on Monday night the Lord really ministered to me at my home group about my relationship with my dad.  Then Wednesday night after the film festival I left for Banner Elk.  I left at one in the morning, drove through the whole night, and arrived at 7:30 in the morning.  I woke everybody up and basically just visited with everyone the whole day.  Everybody is doing great!  I came over to Sharon’s after lunch.  When little Hannah arrived home from school, we just swing danced the whole afternoon together.  Then most of the gang came over here last night and we just hung out the whole time.

It’s so great to be here.  Sharon is the best.  Hannah and Laura are the greatest girls on the planet right now.  This feels more like home than any place I know.  This is where I am from.

Vince and Curtis are on their way over here right now.  They are going with me to pick up Kerstin.  Then tonight we are going to see Sunny at Blue Ridge Community Theater.  Sarah has one of the leads in that show.

Thank you God for these few days here.  I love you.

April 24, 1999 – Saturday – 6:08 p.m.

So many teenagers came to the Lord last night.  I led one little girl named Crissy to the Lord.  It was fantastic!

Thursday night, late into Friday morning, I acted in Grant’s editing project.  And during that time, Brian and Derrick went totally weird on me and told me how they thought I was some “Holier-Than-Thou” stuck-up dude.  It hurt to be so misunderstood.

I also helped Jorge on his editing project this morning and I just now finished both of my projects.  When I got back to my apartment, I discovered Sarah’s voice on my answering machine.  She just wanted to talk.  She sounded beautiful.  She sounded like herself.  I hope all is going well with her.

I’m going ice-skating tonight with the youth group.  This will be the second time I’ve ever gone.  The first time was with Geanna, remember that, on top of Beech Mountain. Crazy!

Life sure is fun, it sure is funny, and sure is beautiful…with Jesus.

April 15, 1999 – Thursday – 9:30 p.m.

Life is beautiful.

There are beautiful eternal instants happening all around me.  Moments of bike-riding with Kimberly and studying the photo albums of her youth with her under the amber light shade of her living room.

Mary Jo just left here.  We spent nearly an hour together just listening to good music, especially Caedmon’s Call’s Table for Two.  We have declared it our song.  Our conversation turned into a pillow fight.  She is so lovely to be around.

Kerstin came to visit me in the bookstore.  We seem to talk so much about relationships, despite the fact that neither of us are in one.  Oh how beautiful conversation is.

David and his brother and I are going to see The Matrix tonight.  They haven’t seen it yet. I called Vince last night, he said he saw it and he loves it.  He said he plans to spend the summer in Banner Elk, as does everyone else.

Everything looks better.  Everyone is beautiful.  Jesus has become my eyes.  To know him; that is the only reason why we are here.

Angela (from my South Africa trip) and I email each other regularly.  She is such a blessing.  She lives in Seattle.

I’m sure the air feels nice outside McAlister Hall right now, but I’d rather feel the air here.  How wild this thing is.  I don’t miss driving the hour back and forth between Siler City and Winston-Salem; I’m just glad to know I was once there.

I’m happy to know that I was a good undergraduate student and that I did it well.  Oh this life is not my own.  I’m so thankful for that; it’s easier to exist that way.  No burdens.  No fears.  I only task is to let go and love every minute freely and fully.  I job is to rest in his peace and salvation.

My beautiful Jesus.  You are perfection.  Thank you for the life you’ve breathed into me.  I love you.  I do, I do.

March 13, 1999 – Saturday – 9:01 p.m.

Closing time for another book has come.  Nearly nine months of my life have been written down in these bound pages.  This 14th Book of Days began as Sarah and I ended.  I’ve been to Texas, New York, South Africa, Swaziland, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Virginia during the days of this book.  And now I relax on a bed in my grandparent’s house in Lenexa, VA.

My aunt Patty just left to go back to D.C.  My brother just left to return to Richmond.  Nate is on the couch, and Mom and Henry are upstairs.

And life is beautiful.

It is good to be here; to be around family.  This was the first time my immediate family has been together since my graduation.  Yet we were all in this one house tonight because of one man, my grandfather.  My aunt Patty sung a song she wrote about him today and it ended with the lyric, “I learned a lot from my daddy.  Most of all, this is what I learned: work hard to provide, live a decent life, marriage is for a lifetime, raise your young’uns well, and always say ‘I love you.'”

I am proud to call him my grandfather.

My mother talked to me tonight about my dad, and how he would call her ugly and tell her that he would think of other women from magazine covers when having sex with her.

How cruel, but I forgive him.

God is my father, and always has been.

I will learn from Him.

Although I am from a family, it seems like such a meaningless thing compared to the relationship between myself and Jesus.  The whole worth of my being depends on a bloodstained hand.  I see from where I have come, and what a beautiful story it is, but I must never stop writing.  I one day will be like my grandfather and perhaps give hope to my grandson as he begins his own journey.  Nevertheless, the work of my hand and mind, the provision that will come from that, the marriage between my future wife and I, and my relationship with my future children is nothing compared to Jesus and me.

I am 22.

Twenty-two.

I have learned many things, but only one do I hold my life to.

Only one.

And that is that Jesus loves me.

Jesus loves me.

And he loves all his little children as equally as he loves me.