November 27, 2000 – Monday – 5:00 p.m.

I’m in the Dallas airport and much has happened since I’ve last written. So much so that it would make a pretty good movie, a character study about lonely people trying to communicate with God.

I have spent the past six days with Theresa, the 25-year old former co-worker of mine from the bookstore my roommate Dan thought he was supposed to marry. He believed this not only because he loves her and wants to be with her, but mainly because he feels God told him she was to be his wife.

I came to New Mexico because she invited me, and I wanted to visit a new state. However, Dan is back home wondering what the heck I’m finding out for him, for I suggested that if he gave me a letter to give to her, perhaps she would send one back with me for him.

I was wrong.

She did not.

I arrived late Tuesday night and slept on an air mattress in a one bedroom apartment in Albuquerque. I woke up the next morning to discover this is a very brown city. I forgot how green the east coast was, even in November.

We then picked up Michael, a 40-year-old massage therapy student, who I could immediately tell has the hots for Theresa. I should add here that I have never been attracted to Theresa or have ever been even remotely interested in her. She’s always been Dan’s girl in my mind.

We headed south and drove through very wide and flat land. We stopped in Truth or Consequences just to see it, for I have some significant scenes taking place there in my screenplay To Fly. While I was looking around and taking pictures, Michael spoke endlessly to me about the power of touch.

We stopped at a small hut in the middle of an open desert plain to visit a friend and client of Michael’s. There was no water or electricity at this place, but it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. The couple living there chose to live that way, off the grid, as they say. They wanted to be separate from society. I took pictures, especially of their distant out house that had no walls. Every time they relieved themselves they saw a sight few will ever see.

We continued around a chain of green mountains and ended up in Grant County and finally Silver City, where Theresa’s parents live. We ordered takeout and then awoke the next day to serve the hungry and homeless a warm Thanksgiving meal at a local soup kitchen. It was a beautiful time.

That afternoon Theresa and I visited the City of Rocks and we talked about how Dan never really knew the real her. Dan simply put the ideal woman he wanted to marry onto Theresa simply because she took the time to show him a bit of attention while they worked together.

That evening, after a very healthy and natural dinner, I went to see M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable with Theresa’s dad. I love going to a movie theater on Thanksgiving Day!

The next day, Michael, Theresa, her dad, and I hiked around Catwalk State Park about an hour north from where they live. It was a beautiful canyon with waterfalls, brown rocks, and green cacti. Again, I took pictures.

On Saturday we drove back to Albuquerque and then hiked with Theresa’s other friend Justin. We went up to Sandia Crest, and that was without a doubt my favorite part of my days in New Mexico. We were 10,678 feet above sea level, easily the highest I’ve ever been. Everything was covered in snow. The sunset was a bright red blaze over the entirety of the west, and Theresa was glued to Justin’s side. He is only 19, but he is filled with confidence, and this is something Dan does not have.

Confidence and beauty are the two main things Theresa is attracted to. Sadly, Dan, in her eyes at least, has neither.

That night I held a crying Theresa on her couch. She cried because she is no longer sure of her relationship with God.

The next day we drove north to Colorado and drove back along beautiful, snow-covered, secondary roads. I enjoyed every minute of seeing a new part of God’s creation.

After we returned we went to see Bounce, and this morning I went to her Massage Therapy class with her. What I experienced there broke my heart. So many people were looking for answers, looking for meaning, but they were looking for it in their own physical bodies. They were not looking for God at all. Imagine the good work one could do if they invited God into massage therapy. Surely someone is doing that.

So now I’m at the airport in my middle of my return journey. Of course, nothing I mentioned above is what truly happened, what truly happened can be found in the expressions I saw in each person’s face as they sought out human connection, meaning, and love. Those eyes, eyebrows, and glances are difficult to capture in these pages, but that is where the true stories reside.

November 18, 2000 – Saturday – 1:50 p.m.

It’s been an interesting week. I acted in a video shoot and have been working on Trey’s film. On Thursday night I spent some time with Anna again. We had dinner at The Jewish Mother near the beach. I enjoy her company so much.

I also called Tenielle, and I am going to drive down to see them at the end of December. It was great to talk to her and Jenna.

My mom called this morning. They may not be able to come up to Virginia from Florida for Christmas, so I don’t know what I am going to do. Anna invited me down to her place in Florida, so I might get to see my parents after all.

And so the Holidays are here again. And I have many people to love.

November 11, 2000 – Saturday – 11:00 a.m.

Tuesday was a rough day, but I was able to spend a bit of time with Anna in the evening. She has such a bright spirit. I adore being around her.

At the moment I am in a house on the beach at Sandbridge with my small group. So far it has been a lovely day.

Every Wednesday night I hang out with a group of late twenty somethings and early thirty somethings. I haven’t written much about them, but all of them are dear to my heart. Scott and Paige have three adorable kids. Aaron and Wendy have two children. Steve and Karen have none but desire a dozen. John and Eileen aren’t married yet, and they aren’t here this weekend either. Kevin and Krissy are engaged, then there is Brian, a single wrestling coach at Western Branch High School in Chesapeake, which is right next to where Acoustic Works used to be.

And then there is me. A 24-year-old graduate student who seems to live life like a vagabond. Kevin and I were talking last night and I asked him what I should do with my life.

He said, “I think you are the type of person that God doesn’t keep in one place. You should just let God take you all over the world and affect as many people as possible.” He said that I may move in and out of peoples’ lives and make them say, “Who was that guy?! Where he is now!”

A part of me found comfort and glory in that thought. Perhaps I am called to just wander God’s beautiful creation; to be in certain corners and around certain people, but only for a season.

I’m beginning to feel restless, like next summer will be my time to leave this place.

But who knows.

You know, I believe I have underestimated the beauty of the ocean. Anna grew up in Florida right next to the Atlantic Ocean, and she said she wants to always live right on top of one.

Football is on, and everyone but me is excitedly interested, which is why I’m off in another room writing in my journal. But now I shall go join the festivities.

And soon I’ll be in New Mexico.

September 30, 2000 – Saturday – 11:03 a.m.

We are leaving the Breaks Interstate Park that sits on the border of Virginia and Kentucky. I’m in the van with Mark, Susan from Ireland, and Lisa. Mark agreed to let me play the Legend of the Fall soundtrack since it fits in perfectly with the fall colors that have begun creeping in on the mountain sides.

The past three days have been wonderful. Some many from the church came: Ron, John, Roger, Amy, Ginger, Holly, Kevin (my small group leader), and Kristen, who was in Dang!. Kevin asked Kristen to marry him at Breaks Interstate Park two nights ago.

At the Mountain Mission School, we painted, did yard work, some landscaping, etc. It was fun and rewarding work, and the kids were so thankful we were there. The best part though was simply getting to know everyone on our team.

I performed my velociraptor impression for the kids countless times, and the little 7-year-old girl named Vanessa became my little buddy. She cried when it was time for us to leave.

The past few days were full of endless laughter, and now I have this perfect drive through the mountains with one of the greatest soundtracks ever recorded.

I just realized it was the last day of the month. Wow, I loved this month of this year. I didn’t write much, for I was living life to the fullest. What a wonderful month of friends and filmmaking! Dan and Abigail were married, but that first weekend of the month was about so much more for me. I awoke on the first day of the month in Sharon’s house and got to have breakfast with a family that truly knows how to love each other. I also was able to spend a little time with Mason and Maresa. Then, Sarah and I shared a nice walk. I hugged a pregnant Jeni goodbye very close to the place we first kissed nearly six years ago.

After that beautiful Labor Day weekend, I quit my first ever salary job and started making videos every day for Forefront. That church is a gift from God. It helped bring me to this corner of Virginia, where I was able to bless many girls from Ethiopia.

It’s great to feel tired for the sake of others. I’m worn out, but I gave all that was in me. There is no greater joy.

Okay, I’m going to stop writing now. The world outside is too beautiful, the music is too good, the company is too sweet.

I let go of September of the year 2000. You were a perfect month. Welcome October.

September 26, 2000 – Tuesday – 9:52 p.m.

Each day is somehow filled with making movies. I love what I do for Forefront, it’s hard to even call it work. It’s absolutely wonderful.

I leave for Grundy, VA tomorrow. It is very close to Kentucky, a state that I haven’t visited since September of ’97 I believe. Hopefully we’ll cross the state line.

Life is rather simple in these flat, coastal lands. I just kind of go with the flow of everything, knowing I own nothing, and nothing lasts forever save the love of God.

The air was much cooler today. It was lovely. And I’ve discovered a new artist, singer/songwriter Dar Williams. I bought her latest album today.

As September ends I’ll be in a part of the Appalachian Mountains I’ve never been in before. It’s difficult to describe the freedom I’ve been experiencing these days. There simply a beauty in the everydayness.

Jesus is revealing new truths to me about humanity, and what is truly important.

I thank him for that.

September 22, 2000 – Friday – 3:30 p.m.

Many days have passed since my last journal entry. Let me try to sum up what has happened.

I began working at Forefront, so I’ve been around many of the staff: Rolon, Kevin, Chris, Matt, Christi, and sometimes Vince and Joe.

While on a location scout for ‘The Accuser,’ a five-minute short film the university is paying for, I got in a car accident because the dudes in the back told me to take an immediate left, and I did, right into a fish truck that was coming up behind me. I have a nice huge dent on the left side, but no one was hurt.

I’ve been swamped with production both at Regent and for Forefront. I’ve got two 16mm films in the works now, as well as two more videos I just finished editing this morning.

That’s mainly why I haven’t written, I just been making movies. It’s been freeing to just be running around shooting a quick Forefront video, prepping a movie with an actual budget, or editing quietly on the iMac the church gave me.

Dan is completely depressed over Theresa. He was convinced God told him she was to be his future wife, but he definitely shouldn’t have told her that. He is now questioning if God exists at all.

Sarah wrote me a lovely letter, but I’ve been busy with film-making that I haven’t give it much thought. After getting my pictures from Dan and Abigail’s wedding, I discovered a perfect picture of the two of us.

I’m sure if I hadn’t been so busy I’d try to pursue her again, so I really thankful I have been busy.

This evening I’ll be selling nachos at a local air show. The band Train is performing. They have a song called ‘Meet Virginia’ that comes on the radio all time. I sing it at the top of lungs while driving around town.

On Wednesday morning I’ll be leaving for Grundy, VA. It is eight hours away.

In two months I’ll be in Mexico for the first time.

Can the year be ending so soon?

Christi, on the Forefront staff, is a beautiful, single, 24-year-old, Children’s Ministry Director. I’m trying not to dwell on that fact too much.

We had lunch together a few days ago. She’s fun, but is lacking encouragement.

I have shown the latest cut of Dang! to an experienced filmmaker in the area. He says he’s never seen a more perfect student film.

Thank you God for what you are doing.

May I continue to serve you.

I love you so.

September 1, 2000 – Friday – 4:00 p.m.

I left after work last night and arrived here just before midnight.  So, ‘August and everything after’ actually begins here in Banner Elk.  Perfect.

Curtis and Megan and I stayed here in Dan’s new place.  I’m here now, just chillin’ and listening to Caedmon’s Call.

Mason and Marisa are back up here for school.  I went to visit Mason after Dan, Curtis, Allen and I went to Johnson City, TN to pick up our Tuxedos.  It was a fun little trip down the mountain.  I do love my friends.

While in Mason’s room I called Sarah, yes my old Sarah.  She came over and we found the time to go for a walk before she had to be in Highlanders.

The things we both said were beautiful.  She apologized.  I apologized.  We talked about rainbows.  I felt my heart beating loudly inside me.  I haven’t felt that in a very long time.  My eyes never left her as she performed during Highlanders.  Oh God, don’t let me get too weird while I’m here for this wedding.  You are changing Sarah, and I don’t want to get in the way.

The morning was spent with Dan’s family in a cottage near a place where I used to walk. I feel reborn.  I feel different.  I feel changed.  Thank you Jesus for this new beginning and may we do it again tomorrow.

Be with Sarah.  If it is your will, allow us to go for another walk again tonight.

Thank you for this weekend Jesus.  I love your forgiveness and salvation.

August 24, 2000 – Thursday – 2:00 p.m.

I’m on my lunch break at the moment.  I met with Vince, one of the pastors at Forefront, on Tuesday, and we talked about how we can both help each other in the film and video world.  It was great; I really like him.

At my small group last night, everyone decided to watch Survivor instead of do a Bible study.  It was the finale, so they all said it was a big deal, but it was the first time I had ever heard of it.  It made me realize how much I don’t watch TV or am into whatever is popular at the moment.  The show was pretty interesting, but also totally pathetic.

I will be going to Grundy, Virginia in September for a little ministry work, and it looks like Theresa from the bookstore may show me around New Mexico for Thanksgiving.  Those are my only future plans.  Otherwise, I’m taking it one day at a time.

July 17, 2000 – Monday – 7:00 a.m.

I finally got to visit Forefront Church.  It meets in a movie theater on General Booth Blvd, closer to the beach.  It was so wonderful.  It was as though God himself was there welcoming me, for Kristen, the girl who starred in Dang! was there.  She was only there visiting for that one Sunday because she’s been doing Sight and Sound up in Lancaster, PA.  She was there to see her boyfriend Kevin, who leads a small group I hope to attend on Wednesday nights.  It was just to perfect to walk through the doors and see I face I know!  And it meets in a movie theater!

Two years ago I was in Africa.  Crazy!  Last year I had just returned from Los Angeles.  But this summer it looks like West Virginia is about as far away as I’ll go.  That’s okay, for I’m so excited about starting a new church life.

Yesterday evening, Jean from work and I randomly ended up walking around Buckroe Beach in Hampton.  She’s so cool; we have the nicest talks.  I’m thankful for her friendship.

God seems to be doing something with me, a new beginning, a letting go.  I see how he has to pull me away from Lees-McRae.  Keep me here to do your will God.  Teach this place and how to love it.

July 9, 2000 – Sunday – 12:30 p.m.

I got home at 5:00 this morning.  I was up in Maryland returning Uncle Jeff’s truck back to him.  My roommate drove my new car up there and then we drove it back down together, but the alternator or battery or something messed up on us.  It’s a long story, but it took us one heck of a time getting back.  We were stopping and waiting.  We slept on the side of the interstate for a while.  We got stuck near Bowling Green, VA where we ate at the Chin Restaurant.  Actually it was the Chinese Inn, but so many letters were burnt out that it read ‘Chin.’

It feels like I’ve been all over Virginia and Maryland this week. Last weekend I camped out with Dan on the top of the mountain behind his house in West Virginia, then we spent the next day visiting Garrett County in Maryland.  I drove back on the 4th of July.

I also helped Kristen out with a CD-Rom she is working on.  She wanted to interview me about today’s youth since I lead 12 of them to Los Angeles nearly one year ago.

I’m sad that I didn’t get to visit Forefront Church this morning, but I was just too sleepy after our night on the highway.  Hopefully I can visit a week from today.