October 13, 1996 – Sunday – 9:45 a.m.

We are on the road right now, somewhere around Jacksonville, FL.

Yesterday was so awesome.  We rented wave-runners and went out in the Gulf of Mexico.  It was so much fun; it felt like I was flying just inches above the water.

That evening Syndi and her boyfriend Eric came to pick me up.  We went to this really huge multiplex with 20 screens and saw Tom Hanks’ That Thing You Do.  It was so funny.  A really great movie.  Syndi looked good; she grew her hair back and colored it blonde.  She is happy down here and it was great that I simply got to see her, the girl I held under the waterfall at the end of my Freshman year.

The other thing happened yesterday is that we heard on the radio that Tommy Moe was going to be at a Ski and Sports Shop.  Tommy Moe was a gold medalist in the 1994 Olympics.  Dan has posters of him in his room.  So we all went and got free T-shirts, he autographed them all and we got our picture taken with him.  Dan was really excited.  “I can’t wait to tell my parents that I went to Flordia to meet Tommy Moe!” he said.

That evening, whenever Syndi and Eric brought me back, I went for a walk around Kate’s neighborhood.  I prayed and sang to the Lord.

He is so great to me.

The air was so warm.

The midnight clouds so pretty.

My dreams are coming true.

I’m doing that thing that only I can do.

April 6, 1996 – Saturday – 4:10 p.m.

It’s Easter weekend.  We have no classes on Monday, so everyone’s gone.  The dorm is empty.  Only the dripping water from a broken shower-head fills the lonely hallways.  A misty fog fills the air.  I can barely make out the evergreens through my window pane.

I am on duty.

I spent the day simply enjoying solitude.  I read some of The Oath.  An absolutely amazing book.  It’s too cold to work at the Humane Society for my community service hours.  I called my mom.  My summer plans are definite.

Earlier today I planned out my courses for the rest of the year, and it donned on me that it is April again.  Last year this time I was constantly calling and writing Emily.  We even spoke the words “I love you” to each other.  And we did.  We loved each other’s voice and words and soul.  But all good things must… well, you know.

Soon, this year will end.  This means I will be a Junior.  Charlie was a Junior when I met him.  Charlie graduates in a month.  He has been offered youth pastoring jobs in Kentucky and even on the coast of North Carolina and one down in Florida.  He and Dan and I talked about it last night.  We reflected on the past year, the guys on our hall, my problems with Jeni, and we even laughed about everything we experienced that was painful at the time.

And then, Dan opened up.  He told us how he cried on the last day of ski season.  He reached the bottom of the mountain, the snow was melting, the thing he loves most was disappearing.  He was alone.  No skiers around.  He sat on a bench and wept.  A whole summer and early fall would have to pass before he could fly over the powder again.

We talked about Charlie and Kate and love, and Dan wanted us to change the subject.  He can ski down the side of a cliff, but he’s afraid to talk about love.  As a young child, he saw a woman take his older brother away.  Does loving one subtract from the other?

I’ve been selfish.  I’ve forgotten the people around me actually have beating hearts.  They are alive.  I learned that under the endless Arizona sky.

And it all comes together.  It all makes sense.  I now know the secret to life:  every now and then, take a moment to lie on your favorite bed and look out the window.  Then dream about the lives that have touched you, and write them down so you will be forced to remember and never forget.

This, and prayer, and the giving away of all of my love, is how I survive.  It is the food that sustains me.

As I walked back from lunch today, a pebble got caught in my sandal.  It was carried a little ways, then it fell out and found itself in a place…

a new place,

totally different from where it began.