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.

August 2, 1999 – Monday – 11:00 a.m.

Much has happened in the past several days.  I am in Banner Elk, NC.  My last day on the film shoot was Friday, so Friday night I drove to Siler City, NC.  I spent the night with Peter at the Motor Lodge.  He was there with his girl Shivani and we stayed up until two in the morning, just talking.  I left early Saturday morning and went to Sylva and met up with my grandparents.  We all went to Deep Creek for the family reunion.  Everyone was there except for Nar, Kevin, and Patty.

I left Bryson City that night and drove up here to Banner Elk.  I went to Lees-McRae, but couldn’t find a soul.  I did finally find Jessi and learned that Sarah was in a show that night.  I only got to see her for about ten minutes.  Then I found out that Allen and Jessica had just returned from their road trip to Colorado, so I spent the night at Allen’s, as did Jessica.  They are getting married next summer.

We went to Banner Elk Christian Fellowship yesterday morning and there I saw Lindy and Tracey and Ashley and tons of others.  Dan was still in town saying goodbye to Abigail, who is going to Austria.  We all just freaked out when we saw each other!  We all went out to lunch, hung out all afternoon, then went out to dinner.  Everyone is working this morning, so I’m riding with Sharon to Asheville and back later today.  Vince is away on a cruise.  I miss him.

But here I am on a flat rock off the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I came here early this morning with Curtis and we took some amazing pictures.

Time to go meet Sharon.

. . .

It’s now 8:20 p.m. on the same day.

Sharon and Hannah and I drove to Asheville, she just had to get an Allergy shot, so I rode along so we could chat.  While down there we went to go see Runaway Bride; a perfect movie.  I don’t know if I’ve ever left a movie theater so happy before; there is such wisdom in that film.

Sharon and I had wonderful talks all day about life and love and Jesus and forgiveness.  Oh how I love and adore that woman.  I told her about Mary and she caught me up on Laura.

Runaway Bride taught me so much and I’m so thankful that I’m single right now.  After tomorrow, which is Lindy’s birthday, I’m going to get in the car and just drive.  I’m just going to keep driving and stay in weird places and be with my Jesus.  We are going on a honeymoon, if you will.

 

June 8, 1999 – Tuesday – 9:00 a.m.

Tenielle called me at one o’clock in the morning.  She is 17-years-old now, graduating from high school, and possibly joining the Army in October.  Jenna’s baby is a year and a half now.  She and Herb never got married.  I also found out that Tenielle and my brother Kevin were actually boyfriend and girlfriend at one time and actually kissed.  But Kevin was 21, and Tenielle was only 14.  That’s just sick!

But Tenielle seems to be doing okay now.  She sounded good.  We talked about how Carol is now raising five kids on her own since her husband left and is now addicted to cocaine.  She also said that Scott was just a big fat drunk now.  What happened?  I used to look up to these people.

Sharon also called me to tell me that Laura’s boyfriend David is off in Albania where some sort of war is going on.  With the job he has, that’s just what he does, he goes to the worst part of the world at the moment and lends a hand, trying to bring peace.  Laura says she can’t live like that.  She wants someone who can be there at the end of the day.  They are both just pitiful since they are learning they aren’t compatible.  Missions is on David’s heart and not on Laura’s, so he shouldn’t bring her along.

I took off from work until the middle of the July, simply to finish school for the summer and to do Master’s Commission.  The extra time is really nice.  I’m constantly in rehearsal for scenes in Actor Coaching.  Gin and Christy and I are a team.  They’re both fun.  Christy is getting married and has rekindled my belief that there are still good girls out there worth marrying.

Well, Lord…I give you another delightful day!

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.

March 10, 1999 – Wednesday – 10:52 p.m.

Last night I talked to Sharon, Abigail, and Vince.

Vince and Charlie are coming in a week!

I read about this week two years ago today and how I was in Florida.  I don’t think I’ve ever blessed myself so much outside of re-reading what I wrote to myself long ago.  My vision for my life was rekindled and I want to tell stories. and bring freedom to people.  Tonight, Kimberly told me that I do exactly that, for she said, “You make me feel alive.”

God is so good to me here.  Although I fail to see it sometimes, I have some truly amazing friends here.  May I never forget that.

God has used the past few days to wake me up, to be free myself so others will want to follow.

January 26, 1999 – Tuesday – 10:14 p.m.

Wow, I can’t believe how much time has passed since my last entry.  Let’s see…Friday’s youth service was great; we just worshipped and prayed.  God showed up and spoke through us.  On Saturday we had a rehearsal for Masks and performed it Sunday night for the church.  It went fabulously and many were blessed by it.

Our new youth group name is “Vision of Fire.”

Saturday night I went over to Nicole’s for a dinner party.  Many other film students were there and it great to hangout with guys and girls who were over the age of 22.

I led devotions in my Research and Writing class on Monday.  I used my teddy bear as an example and even played “Absence of Fear” by Jewel.  The message was basically that our relationship with Jesus should be a romantic one.

I spoke up at our home group on Monday night and shared about a vision I had related to my glorified body.  I cried as I spoke.  It was something else.

I also was accidentally locked out of my apartment last night and ended up staying over at April’s and Mary Jo’s until two in the morning.  I watched The Mirror Has Two Faces while they went to sleep.

Today itself was an excellent day.  Sharon called me to simply update me on what has been going on with her family.  She makes me feel like I am one of them.  She shared with me the Laura has woken up.  She felt that her relationship with the Lord was only based on her mother’s faith and that she herself was not in love with Jesus.  She rededicated her life to him, even prepared her own service on Monday night, gave her testimony, and even got re-baptized.  Pastor Brent asked her to share again on Sunday morning.  She did and afterwards eight people came to know Jesus as their savior.

Wow!

You are amazing Jesus!

According to Sharon, all of Heaton is in revival right now because one little girl decided to fully love her Lord.  Oh Laura, you are still the most amazing one I’ve come across.

Jesus, you are the lover of my soul.  You are my vision, my life, my love.  You are so beautiful.

And we will live forever.

December 16, 1998 – Wednesday – 10:09 p.m.

I called Sharon tonight and I spoke with her and Hannah.  Sharon’s dad died suddenly last Thursday.  She loves me so greatly, for even in her time of loss she gave me so much.  It overwhelms me to think that God loves me so much more than Sharon does.

You know… I have always thought that I had grand dreams and great goals, but I think that just this moment, after talking with Sharon and reliving memories with Hannah, those memories of our walks to Snowflake Inn and summer evenings of catching fireflies, I think I’ve already fulfilled the dreams I knew nothing of.  As I look back on myself now, it seems that little blonde-haired boy was always dreaming of the moment when I would run my hands over Christin’s hair, or touch Abigail’s face, or study the curves of Sarah’s cheeks, or laugh endlessly with Dan, Allen, Vince, Curtis, Charlie, Josh, and Justin.

It feels as though I have fulfilled all I was ever suppose to accomplish.

Oh, wouldn’t you agree, life is beautiful.

To hear Sharon talk of Laura tonight…she still remains one of, if not the most, beautiful and amazing girl I’ve ever come across.

I’m going to pray to my God now, because…life is beautiful!

November 9, 1998 – Monday – 5:30 p.m.

I don’t have much time to write, but I feel like talking to myself, and to God.

I love the weather this time of year.  I love the chill the tide brings in.  I’m enjoying this place.  It has become a home.  One like my old one on Foust Road.  One like my old one in McAlister Hall and even Tennessee Dorm.  One like my bed in Johannesburg, South Africa.

But God’s presence is where I will always be more comfortable.

I’m going over to Kimberly’s house tomorrow to study sign language for our show, and to also have dinner.  I pray it’s not too awkward.

I constantly miss Sharon’s home.

The Rebecca St. James concert is less than two weeks away.  Thanksgiving break with Allen, Vince, and Tracey is right after that.

And then the last month of this fantastic year!

October 22, 1998 – Thursday – 10:00 p.m.

I talked with Sharon tonight. Snow was in the air over Avery County this morning.  I wasn’t there to see it. October 27th was the first snowfall of my last LMC winter.  I didn’t realize how true that statement was when I wrote it nearly a year ago.

I’ve realized when I write these words in these spiral-bound books that they will never go away.  All 13 books are in my sight at this moment.  They sit on a shelf in my closet in front of me.  They are a record of nearly the past six years of my life.

I put Christmas lights up in my room this evening, and it caused me to miss the wintery feel of Banner Elk so much.  So, another day is closing.  One of the final ones for Tammie and Jose in this land.

I turned in four copies of the first draft of “Eyebrows” to the school’s team of producers yesterday.  They said I was the first of the final four to turn it in.  They seemed pleased and impressed.

And so God moves me on.  My memories fight with the present moment every day.  My heart questions why we can’t go back, but it also longs to see what is ahead.

I have no one to really talk to here.  I miss Vince and our deep talks to Counting Crows’ “August and Everything After.”  We had a ritual.  We would start with track four, “Perfect Blue Buildings,” and play it through to the end.  We would turn off the lights and stare up at his glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling, most of which were placed there by Laura, and we’d talk of God, love, and beauty until the midnight hour.

I miss Dan and I pondering over the questions of life while playing “Tetris 2” on the Super Nintendo.

I miss riding in Curtis’ car and staring out the window in deep thought.  He’s always ask me what was on my mind.  I’d always tell him.  I felt listened to.

I miss Allen disagreeing with my way of thinking.  He’d ask my advice and then go do the opposite.  But somehow it still made me feel loved by him.

And I miss Charlie, the one I’ve known the longest.

But God needs me elsewhere.  His breath is blowing me forward.  So, I continue and I do this not for me, for all I want is heaven, but God asks me to wait and spend more time with his creation first.

I cannot argue with that.  So that is what I will do.

But how can I live in today when I long for the past?  How can I make new friends when all I want are my old ones?  How can I help save others from a world I can’t admit I’m in?

Why did you make me this way God?  To find comfort in asking questions and not needing the answers.  Is that what faith is?  I don’t need the answers Lord, I just need to know you are listening.

I miss you.  I miss the eyes I’ve never seen.  You comfort me more than my memories and my Teddy Bear from Tenielle.  I want to hold you instead as I fall asleep.  Be with me tonight sweet Jesus, and take me to be with you.  I want to awake in heaven, but if I’m here tomorrow, I will laugh and play in your love.

Heaven feels closer tonight.

How perfect your grace is.

September 25, 1998 – Friday – 5:10 p.m.

September is slipping out from under me.  Can it already be so late in the year, and so late in the millennium?

I had a film shoot earlier in the week and met a woman who had spent some time out in LA.  Our conversation about how the business really works intimidated me a bit, and I felt God question me on how bad I wanted to work in the film industry.  Most of the students here don’t really want to work in Hollywood, they just love the craft and home to use it somehow as a career.  If I’m honest, I want to live a quiet life, not a life in the spotlight.  But I also know I’m supposed to study this right now, and it won’t last very long, for it is already almost October.

Three months until Christmas.

I head for Charlotte, NC tonight after youth group.

Laura and I have been emailing each other.  I miss her beauty.

1999.

That’s impossible.

Last Christmas I promised I would never spend another Christmas with my dad’s side of the family.  I’m tempted to ask Sharon if I can stay with them over the Holidays and just hide from the world.  Even Laura’s emails look beautiful and pure.

Where suddenly have I gone?

I pitched a short film script today.  I’m not sure how it was received, but I got a lot of laughs.  It is a comedy, so that’s good.

I also got called back for both short films I auditioned for.

Why is all of this making perfect sense God?  Yet, why am I also so confused?  Why do I miss things I’ve never had?  Why do I dream of things I do not want?

Please slow this down God.

Please speed it up.

Is all of this just to make you smile…

…or to make me smile?