May 19, 2001 – Saturday – 4:42 p.m.

I no longer live in Virginia Beach. All my stuff has been moved out of my apartment and into Anna’s studio apartment in downtown Norfolk. We leave tonight for Florida, and we’ll be man and wife seven days from now.

When did all this happen?

I feel as though the current stage of my journaling is coming to a final conclusion. These books have covered roughly ages 16 to 24, that time in everyone’s life when they discover what all this is truly about.

Did you go on that journey with me? I don’t even know who I am asking. Will anyone but me every read these words on paper?

Here is what I have learned. Everything changes except the love of God.

That’s it, that’s the bottom line.

Coming here to the Hampton Roads corner of Virginia was a rough transition, but I met my wife and I made a good movie. Through this entire journey, through all the smiles, the looks, the glances, the beauty; through Veronica, Jeni, Sarah, Marie, and all the crushes I have dreamed about, I want to marry and live the rest of my life with Anna.

The friends I made at Lees-McRae will most likely remain my best friends for the rest of my life. I feel I will be close to them no matter how far apart we actually are in life.

The next two weeks hold a true ending to the story of my life as a single young man. It will be difficult for me to find the time to write, but I will do my best to bring closure to everything. I’m sure I’ll continue journaling in some format, but it too will change and be different in nature. For one thing, there will be no more girls to write about, there will only be Anna.

So, I thank whoever took the time to read these journals. I wrote these past several years simply to help me realize the manner in which I was growing and changing.

And in this moment of self-reflection, here is another truth I’ve learned. My perfect moment in this world, my finest hour, the time when the thin line between heaven and earth disappeared and all stood still to be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever known was when the snow was falling on my warm body in that abandoned tree house on top of Hemlock Hill with The Secret Wedding playing softly in my ears.

I truly doubt it’ll ever get any better than that.

June 3, 1998 – Wednesday – 10:00 p.m.

I just got back from church.  You know, I’m really beginning to miss Lees-McRae.  It can never again be like it was.  Vince, Dan, Allen, Curtis, Charlie, Justin, Josh, etc.; I don’t think I’ve ever had better friends.  Lindy, Tracey, Jeni, Abigail, Ann-Marie, Jessica, Ashley, Ellen, Jessi, Sherlive; I don’t think I’ve ever known sweeter girls.

Except for Sarah, of course.

And I know the God who designed their souls, who drew out the patterns in their eyes, who knew those very eyes would one day shoot daggers through my own soul.

A week from tomorrow I will be leaving to visit them all again with Lindy.

I feel Sarah has changed since she has returned home and taken her job at YMCA.  She seems more mature.  I like it.  I think about her constantly.  I want her forever; to grow old with her.  To simply experience everything by her side.

I will soon go a long time without seeing her, but I will never go a long time without loving her.

I’ve been thinking and I believe that my life has stages.  God plans on using me in different places, different areas, and in each area, in each place, he just wants to watch me interact with and love the other people he has made.  He wants me to experience his creation.  He made me to show me off, and he made others to show them off.

But each stage will eventually come to an end, and the love between us will be all that will live on.

Nothing truly dies.

The Emmanuel Players skit group was a time.

Chatham Central High School was a time.

Lees-McRae College was a time.

Heaton Christian Church was a time.

South Africa will be a time.

Regent University will be a time.

And possibly, some day, I will satisfy these desires in me to make movies, to make theater, to write, and I will move on to what’s next.

It’s funny though, because through all of these stages, I feel they came to a peak when God showed me Sarah.  Or perhaps it feels that way because I’m currently in this moment.  Perhaps she is just here to aid in the transition to the next stage.

If I never see Sarah again after South Africa, all will still be well for the rest of my life, for I know I at least had seven great months by her side.

And even an hour is way more than I deserve.

July 29, 1997 – Tuesday – 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday.  Two days without Sherlive, but my thoughts have been filled with her.

I washed clothes this morning.  Worked, or rather laughed, with Lindy in the box office and then came back and washed dishes.  I read my Bible and a Max Lucado story this evening, then Dan, Vince, Charlie and I went to a nearby pastor’s house.  Dan had brought some chemical or something back from West Virginia and he wanted to make something called a potato gun.  He said the chemical was illegal in all the other states except for West Virginia.  But we didn’t have any potatoes, so the idea was to borrow some from this pastor with a nice garden.  Once we entered his house, his wife asked us if we wanted some dinner.  We said, “No, but we would like some vegetables from your garden.”  And they were more than happy to give us some.

They didn’t have any potatoes, but they had tons of zucchini they wanted to part with.  So, with our hands full of more zucchini than we could ever eat, we drove to the football field on campus and Dan got out this pipe and I don’t really understand what happened, but they stuffed one end with a zucchini, and the other end was full of this chemical, a bit of water and then Dan was holding a flame at the bottom.  Nothing was happening and we were all saying he was full of crap, but all of a sudden…BOOM!!!

We had just shot a zucchini halfway across Banner Elk!  It was a super loud explosion.  Dogs started barking all over town, lights were coming on in all the houses, and I’ve never been so scared in my life so I just immediately started running across the field to hide somewhere; I was sure the cops were coming to take us away for life.

But I had totally forgot that Dan had given me his keys for some reason and I had stranded them there since I ran off.  Luckily Dan had a spare key under his car in a magnet box, but it took them forever to retrieve it.

We finally met up and they kept making fun of how fast I ran away.  I guess it was pretty funny, but I was seriously terrified at the time.  I’ve already been arrested once in this town for trespassing.

. . .

I talked to Rachel tonight and I leave for Chrysalis Thursday morning.

While in the box office today, I called the church and asked for the number of a family that lives in TN, hoping they would have a phone book for that region.  They did and I asked them to look up Denny, Sherlive’s dad’s name.  They found it and I now have her phone number.  I haven’t called her yet, but I might if she doesn’t show up for church tomorrow night.

I see Sherlive and I getting close, but this is her freshman year and my senior year.  I’m kinda scared.

Truth:

This is not my home.

Sherlive is not mine.

She is God’s, as am I.

God comes first.

Otherwise, nothing else will work.

Heaven is in the end.

Heaven is a secret.

A secret allowed to be told.

I must tell that secret.

Secrets are secrets because they are true.

. . .

July is ending.

The month of change awaits.

Change is hiding under my bed.

Awaiting to take me in the night.

I will change rooms, age, and class.

Voices, eyes, smiles, they are killing me.

I fight, live, and die for them all.

They come and haunt me.

I feel Sherlive understands this loving pain.

And that is what burns inside of me.

I no longer know what to write.  I can’t write all of my thoughts for some of them are secrets.  Secrets like heaven and they too don’t have words.

July 28, 1997 – Monday – 5:09 p.m.

I miss her.  I miss her like crazy.

My mother and Nate came last night.  We went driving and exploring this morning.  It was great to spend time with them.

I told her about Sherlive.

The thing that’s driving me crazy is that I’m leaving early Thursday morning to go to Chrysalis in Maryland (I don’t know why I thought it was in Virginia).  I won’t comeback until Monday.  The only time I would probably get to see her would be Sunday, but I won’t be here.  I don’t have her phone number or any way to get in touch with her.  She’s about an hour away in TN and I don’t have a car, so…

I’m in la la land.

I don’t know what’s happening, except that this past weekend with her was a gift from God.

And I miss that gift.

Forever Plaid ends tonight.  There is a line in that play, “One perfect moment, that’s all we have a right to ask for.”

Could that be true?  If so, then my first 21 years have been perfect.  I don’t have the right to ask for anything else, but it seems to get better with each passing second.

It only gets better, because truth has found me.

April 28, 1995 – Friday – 6:30 p.m.

This day is slowly coming to a close.

Our scene went wonderfully this morning.  Everybody loved it.  Everybody laughed.  Everybody told me I did a wonderful job.  They say I am a good actor.

Me.

Our stagecraft class went to Boone today to see a theater with a fly system.  Most people drove themselves since they had rehearsal this evening in Boone.  So that caused myself, Sally, and Al to get stuck in Boone.  I tried to call Shannon, but couldn’t get a hold of her.  I even went by Dana’s house, but nobody was around.  After a while, we finally found Mr. Martz and he let Sally drive the van back to school.  Sally driving a large vehicle for 17 miles up a mountain is hilarious.  It was a little adventure and I enjoyed myself.

I just got off the phone with Tenielle.  She is going to be at Carowinds tomorrow; along with everybody else:  Jenna, Wayne, Sharlene, everybody.

I love Tenielle.  She is the greatest.  Some of the best times of my life have been with that girl.

On the way to Boone, Mr. Martz and I were talking.  He wanted to know how old I thought he was.  I said 44.  He said I was close.

I told him I couldn’t wait until I was 44, just to see how wise I would be.

This was his response, “I’m dumber now at 44.  I was smart at 18.  At 18 I had everything figured out!”

It made me wonder.  I’m 18.  Was there any truth in what he was saying?

Perhaps what he was saying was… the less you know, the smarter you are.