June 27, 1999 – Sunday – 8:50 p.m.

It has been one year since I first moved to the Tidewater/Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

One year.

I am currently at a church in Hampton, where Master’s Commission will lead the service.  Saturday was spent in Richmond; ministering in some poorer areas.  It was bad there, but not as bad as South Africa.  This morning we were in charge of the service at Bethel in Virginia Beach.

We had pizza out in Pungo, and I drove the van pulling the trailer up here to Hampton.  The trailer kept fishtailing back and forth, which was pretty scary when driving through the tunnel.

On Friday night, we kind of had a serious conversation with all the Master’s Commission folk.  Mary is nice to me, but I don’t feel much appreciated by the others.  I met Mary’s family, who were both nice and weird.  I took a picture of their house.  I think I’m a little angry inside, because Mary is someone I want, but deep down know I can’t have.

This morning in church, I really felt the Lord speaking to me about my life, ministry, and career.  I really felt that I must continue to work in the areas of film and theater no matter what.  It is simply the craft that the Lord is asking me to put my hand to.

Doing Master’s Commission almost feels like touring with a band.  We’ve been on the road a lot and we are always eating out.  The driving is fun, but also tiring.  In one week and one day, we’ll be in a plane on our way to L.A.

God is good.  I am meeting many people I never knew were out there.

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June 20, 1999 – Sunday – 9:30 a.m.

We woke up two hours ago and went running before having our quiet time.  I went for a walk in the rain and saw three deer.  We are surrounded by a national forest, it’s really beautiful here.

I have to leave pretty soon to drive back down to Newport News and bring some kids back up to camp.  It’s three hours away.  That’s the same distance Lees-McRae was from Siler City.  Well, I guess it still is.

It’s great to be away.  My mind is free to reflect on more important matters.

Mary has such an amazing spirit.  The girls she mentors are Amber, Megan, Missy, T-Sha, Briana, Dina, Erica, Kristen, and maybe another one, but I forgot her name.

The summer already feels like it is passing so quickly.  All of this will be over before I want it to be.

Oh God, you are the giver of such good things.  I want to be closer to you and hear your voice more clearly.  You are so beautiful in my sight.

I give you all that you have created me to be.

June 4, 1999 – Friday – 10:39 p.m.

Looking back, I see my little midnight drive down the Outer Banks to be the latest Eternal Instant of my life.  It was perfect; just me and the Lord.

I slept Wednesday night for a solid twelve hours.

I met with Dayton today about Master’s Commission.  It’s fifteen days away.  I give God all the glory and thanks for this opportunity.  I’m going to spend three weeks all over Virginia and Los Angeles.  So perfect!  My collection continues to grow.

This has been a difficult week.  There now remains only one week of my summer courses.  I am in four Actor Coaching scenes, I’m directing another one, plus I have a 15-page Film Noir paper due, as well as a Film Noir final exam.  But it will all get done; it always does.  God is good.

After being here for nearly a year, I’m beginning to see how much this place is becoming a part of me.  I remember how bizarre the streets were when I first arrived.  Now I know my way around here like it’s all mine.

Visions of Fire Youth Ministries is simply amazing.  It is an honor to be a part of it.  Our worship band is so anointed.  They play as good as any band on the market.  I feel bad because school keeps me from expanding the drama team.  I’m not really sure what is happening with it, but I am sure that many special, beautiful, and perfect moments occur in this land.  Between the bookstore, the classroom, the church, the youth, the film shoots, and the time I find to be alone…God is blessing me as though I were a king.  He prepared this place for me.

You are my king sweet Jesus!

Forever and ever!

March 19, 1999 – Friday – 9:14 a.m.

I cooked breakfast for everyone yesterday morning, then we all took Vince to get his hair cut.  He had grown it out super long, but now it’s super short.  From there we drove to downtown Norfolk to go to the huge new mall that opened, and we randomly ran into Justin from Lees McRae.  We hung out with him for a bit while he was on his lunch break.  He went back to work and the four of us ate out on the Waterside.  Afterwards we crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to explore the Eastern Shore and ended up in a place called Oyster.

Justin met us back at my apartment and we ate a crazy mixed up dinner of all the food I could find: pasta, fish sticks, chili, etc.  It was so random and fun.

We chilled for a while and then ran out to get some Krispy Kreme Donuts; the HOT sign was on!  It was an amazing day.  I took so many pictures that can tell the story much better than I can.

Jesus is the giver of all good things.

 

June 29, 1998 – Monday – 9:29 p.m.

Today is Allen’s birthday, but I haven’t called him yet, since I don’t have my phone hooked up.  Happy 22 Allen!

Matt and I watched Braveheart last night.  I woke up kinda early this morning and tried to run some errands, but there wasn’t much I could do.  I did meet some faculty members, but very few.

I drove to the beach today.  It was very touristy, so I drove onto the Fort Henry Military Base at Cape Henry.  I went to the Cape Henry Memorial.  I was alone, it was nice, like my own little corner of the world.  There were dolphins playing in the waves.  It reminded me of Hilton Head.

Wow, that was a long time ago.

I miss Emily and Sarah.  I miss a beautiful woman in my arms.

Matt and I went to see The Truman Show tonight.  It’s such a perfect movie.  There was a beautiful storm brewing outside as we left.  I can see so much farther here.  Well, not as far as if I were on top of Grandfather Mountain, but far simply because it’s all so perfectly flat.

In nine days I depart for Texas, and five days after that I leave for South Africa.  Today I went to places I’ve never been before.  And that is pretty much going to be my life for the next month.

Tomorrow is the final day of June, then 1998 will be half over.  And I did the math, after I turn 22 in August, it’s 500 days until the year 2000.  Crazy!

Our phone should be hooked sometime tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to that.

Virginia Beach is the largest city in Virginia population wise, but it’s been pretty peaceful since I hardly know a soul.

August 28, 1995 – Monday – 8:10 p.m.

Today has been a good day.

I got the role of the sentry in Antigone.  I was also cast for some directing scenes.

I had fun in all my theater classes today and Charlie and I went out to eat in Boone.  I haven’t seen Syndi at all today.  I talked to her a few times over the phone.  I felt a little weird this evening because she accidentally mentioned that she slept with her ex-boyfriend Eric when they were together.  It hurt me because I care for her.  I don’t think I’ve ever liked a girl that wasn’t a virgin before.  In fact, I may care too much for Syndi.

But look at me.  Look at me and Jeni.  Jeni and I might not have ever had sex, but we were too intimate.  In God’s eyes, is it the same sin?

I have been forgiven, and so can she.

Rehearsals for Antigone start tomorrow night.

This thing with Syndi will probably hurt in the long run, but I can’t help but care for her.

Good night.

December 26, 1994 – Monday – 7:40 a.m.

It is the 26th of December in the year 1994.

Did you hear me?

December 26, 1994.

I have been alive on this earth for 18 years, four months, nine days, two hours, and 40 minutes.

That’s a long time.

But then again…what is time?

I feel empty.

Arms.  My arms.  They hurt.  They ache.

And I know why.  They are not holding the one I love.

Jeni.

Just writing her name gives me the chills.

She called last night around 11 o’clock.  We talked four hours.

She is in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I am in Lanexa, Virginia.

For the summer of 1995 it looks like I will be where she is now.  She wants me to go home with her and find a job in Cincinnati. Then maybe just visit my family in North Carolina around the 4th of July.

Do you remember when Jenna and I bought Grey Poupon on the 4th of July?

So many smiles, so many moments of laughter, not just from Jenna, but from every person I’ve encountered; every person I’ve spent at least a few fleeting moments with these past 18 years.  Yet I’m sure there are some I have forgotten.

Is my past truly behind me?

Will I allow myself to spend a summer in Cincinnati?  Will my heart?  Will my arms?  Will my eyes?

What is there in Sanford?

What is there to hold in Sanford?

What is there to look upon in Sanford?

Today, Dad and I went to see two movies:  Star Trek: Generations and Forrest Gump.  Star Trek was cool, but will there ever be another movie as amazing as Forrest Gump?

As I left the theater I looked at the different human beings around me.  Some had tears in their eyes.  Some were holding the hand of a loved one.  That certain individual had found that other person they were created to love.

What an adventure!

What a discovery!

What a miracle!

The miracle of another human being.  How Jeni and I ever came to know each other is beyond me.

Beyond me.

There is much beyond me.

But my savior, very close to me, has taught me to love and value another one of his beautiful creations.

Time does not exist.  Days may pass.  Years may pass.  But my past will grow.  My collections will grow.  My love for Jeni will grow.

The end will draw close, but it will not be over.

And in the meantime, I will enjoy my time here on earth.

I will enjoy my time with Jeni.

I will enjoy Lees-McRae College.

I will enjoy the summer of 1995.

I will enjoy the future.

For surely the best days of my life are not the ones you’ve already read about, but the ones I have yet to write.