May 31, 1999 – Monday – 9:00 a.m.

It is the last day of May.  I attended my first ever prom Saturday night.  It was a truly wonderful evening.  Christin and I and some of her friends ate out at Lock’s Point and the dance itself was awesome.  I really had fun, despite the fact that some of those teens dancing looked like they were trying to have sex with clothes on while standing up.  That was gross to see.  We went to the after-prom party and didn’t get to her friend Allison’s house until five in the morning.  The dad cooked everyone breakfast.  I don’t think I would have enjoyed my own prom if I went to it five years ago, but I enjoyed this one at the age of 22.

I still went to Sunday school and church, but then slept most of the afternoon.  Kimberly and Christin came over after church last night and I introduced them to Les Miserables.

Classes end in two weeks and then I’ll begin my Master’s Commission journey.

It just occurred to me that since I’ve come to Regent I may not have explained the other people I have come across.  Of course there is David, who is the youth pastor at Parkway Temple.  He’s 27 and a very good friend.  He’s my mentor and he helps keep me balanced.  His brother Chris, who just moved here from South Africa, is 22 and plays guitar.  He’s become a part of the church and we’ve hung out a couple of times.  Last Thursday we went to see Star Wars.

Kerstin is my friend from Germany.  She is my age.  She talks to me about boys in her life.  She feels that I understand her, but also makes it known that she only wants us to be friends, despite the fact that we play this flirting game with each other.

Brian is a couple of years older than me, yet many times I feel as though I am his mentor.  We used to only talk movies, but our conversations have recently moved onto other topics.

Nicole is 25.  She’s from Atlanta and will one day make the perfect Italian mother once she finds the right guy.  She says her body is screaming at her to have a baby now.  Wow! She’s so beautiful, but she feels like a big sister to me.  Her body shape is so similar to Sarah’s that I often just want to hug her, but try to resist the urge.

Then there’s the other Chris, the theater major who just turned 26.  He’s never had a girlfriend and he’s crazy about Kerstin.  He grew up with all sisters, and he says that has made me very careful around women.  He has a mind for missions and has done much work for Teen Mania.

The whole Hampton Roads area here feels like a melting pot since there’s such a military presence.  It feels like a mix of both northern and southern cultures all thrown into one big suburb.  It’s a very clean region thanks to the high state taxes.  Evidently a lot of people work here, but will live just over the North Carolina line, just to avoid the taxes.  Banner Elk was an easily definable mountain village, but Hampton Roads is a small materialistic version of America.

Nevertheless, at the moment, it is home, and memories are being made.  I’m very happy to know I will live here in the time that I will.  It’s teaching me how to love others and to raise my future children.

Goodbye May.  Hello summer of 1999.

July 15, 1998 – Wednesday – 10:30 p.m.

Tomorrow is the birthday of two girls on my team: Angela and Sarah.  One will turn 15, the other 19.  Angela has an amazing heart in her and I see a fire in Sarah’s eyes that I never saw in my own Sarah.  And I’m jealous because she is so bright at just 15.

I’ve had some unique food so far, but it has all been pretty good.

Today was dedicated to rehearsal our street drama and we’ve got it down pretty well.

This morning during my quiet time, God showed me how important each of the people here are to him and how happy he makes him to see us sharing our life for this brief time.  Already I feel haunted by their eyes.  The girls here seem so pure.  I like how righteous they carry themselves and how they are saving themselves for their husbands.

And I am doing the same, though my two previous girlfriends so desperately wanted me to touch them.  But even that is too far, for a girl here said a guy should treat a girl like fine china, “no fingerprints.”

Hmmm.

Well, God protected me, and seeing all these pure eyes and pure spirits has given me so much hope that I will marry a woman who loves God as much as the girls around me do.

And I think they see the same in me.  One girl told me this morning that I was such an amazing guy.

Paul just entered.  He is 15, but in no way looks like it.  He is 6’3″ and from Maryland.

John is my other roommate.  He is 19 and from Arizona.

They are both here now.  Time to chat with them.

March 28, 1998 – Saturday – 11:40 a.m.

AH!!!!! I don’t understand!!

Yesterday at 5:00 p.m. the school had a cookout at Wildcat Lake.  Sarah was there.  We smiled at each other and when it was time for a big group picture, she stood by me and put her head on my shoulder.  Then we walked back to school together and told each other the coolest stuff in the world; she hadn’t talked to me like that in months and she did it while holding my hand.  We stopped and watched the sunset through the trees and stared at each other.

This is all I’ve been wanting from her, yet she chooses to give it to me after I supposedly let her go?  Why?  Why now and not before when we called ourselves a couple?  Why can’t she make any sense?  Are all women this way?  Why can’t a woman just mean what she says?  Why can’t her actions line up with her emotions?

I love women so much and I want to meet one and marry her, but man, if this is how a woman’s mind works, I’m in for a boatload of pain and heartache.  It’s not that hard!  You know you who are and you share it with others.  You don’t lie, you don’t manipulate, you don’t guilt-trip!  You just treat the other person you supposedly love with the respect they deserve.  It’s just basic logical reasoning; are women incapable of that?  Is it not in their DNA?

Oh Jesus, heal my heart and show me the truth.

February 6, 1998 – Friday – 11:50 p.m.

Today has been one heck of a day in the neighborhood.  My Directing II lab was crazy because Geana decided to just go wacko on me.  She has no sense of self worth and gets hurt by the smallest things.  I was just talking about my own desire to save sex for marriage and she just lost it.

Then, around 12:30 p.m., while I was checking my mail, I found a new Freshman named Elizabeth lying sick on a sofa.  I took her to the hospital and stayed with her for nearly three hours.  It turns out she has a urinary tract infection, but we had a nice time to get to know each other.  She’s amazing, but has much to learn; as do we all.

God has been using these people here to teach me so much.  Lindy and I have been calling each other brother and sister and we’ve had some amazing talks recently that last hours long.

Even Sarah and I seem to slowly be getting better.

And Emily and I have written poetry back and forth to each.  Weird huh?  My true Emily hasn’t written me in a while, and now I wonder if this Emily will also become a lifelong pen pal.

I just love being around women. Even when Geana looses it, I’m still learning something.  Sarah, Lindy, Elizabeth, Emily, such young and amazing women and they take the time to let me share my life, my heart, and my thoughts with them.

I firmly believe women are the greatest thing on this planet and they are keeping all of us sane.

January 22, 1998 – Thursday – 11:15 a.m.

My auditions were last night.  I had an amazing time.  So many talented girls came to audition, it was difficult to decide.

Also, Geana came and talked with me yesterday.  She is full of so many sad stories; she was raped when she was 17.  I talked and prayed with her.  She cried.  She is so focused on outer beauty and her body.  She condemns and insults herself all the time, and she uses sex to try and feel love.  My heart hurts for her.  Oh God, please visit with her and help her.

Lindy, Ann-Marie, and Abigail came to hang out with me yesterday evening and they stayed until one in the morning.  We had what we called a “tear party” for we all seemed pretty emotional, and God showed up in the sharing of our hearts.  Lindy shared about how she gave up her virginity in high school.  She said that guy now had something of hers that she could never get back.  She looked so sad, like she would do anything to remake that decision she made so long ago.  And because of that, she said she’s put up her guard and has been very careful about letting others love her.  She has done the same to God and I told her last night that she needs to let him love her to his fullest ability.  She cried.  I held her.  I cried.

I also spoke to them about how Geana said that all she wanted was to be sure that somebody loved her.  I shared that such a perspective confused me, for I now realize that God loves me way more that I will ever deserve, so I really have no right to ask for any more love from anyone.

Now for me to keep all of that love and not let it flow through me and give it away to others, that is the true tragedy.

I talked to Sarah from the time they left until 2:30 in the morning.  We had an amazing talk, she too shared so much with me.

I now think that there is nothing more difficult in life than being a girl.  And the thing that makes it most difficult for them are men, or boys, I guess I should say.

Sarah told me that she doesn’t think she’ll ever find anyone like me ever again.

Am I really that different?  Am I really that rare?  Are other guys my age spending most of their day talking with young women about the core of who they are?

I love you Lord!  Why are you so good to me?

January 17, 1998 – Saturday – 11:00 a.m.

Okay, never mind.  I wasn’t way off.

Yesterday, Friday the 16th, was a record-breaking day for five girls came to my room and talked to me about their romantic pursuits.

First was Geana.  We talked about sex because she and her boyfriend have sex.  She knows the Bible teaches against it, but she says with him it doesn’t feel like a sin.  She was in a car accident about five years ago where she suffered brain damage.  After that, she said her thinking changed and started doing things she would have never done before.  She seemed confused and admitted as much.  I told her that if the love was true, both would stop having sex, guard their hearts and bodies, and get married.  She seemed to see the logic in that.  She’s an interesting and weird girl.  After telling me all this stuff, she then took a nap on my sofa for an hour.

And while she was asleep, Sherlive called.  She called to talk to me about Vince for she is but another girl who is crazy about him.  I told her he was still confused about Laura and to just be his friend, but to also not be a stranger.

Then, Jessica came over and we talked about her and Allen.  They went on a midnight hike at the beginning of the semester and she now likes him and wanted to know if I knew how he felt about her.

The next girl was Emily, not my pen pal, but Emily from the theater department, who plays the prostitute I have the underwear scene with in Cuckoo’s Nest.  She wanted to talk about her confusing feelings towards Timothy and AJ.

And then the last girl to desire my company and advice was Sarah, my girl, and we got to talk about us.  Thursday night, over the phone, she told me that she had a present for me, “a special present,” she added.

“Well, I’m excited,” I said.

I saw her around lunch time and we smiled brightly at each other.  I called her while Geana was asleep only to find her crying.  She said she was an emotional wreck, but that she had to go to class.  I told her she was beautiful and that I loved her.

At dinner, she was still a little weird and I told her I would look her up after rehearsal.  After rehearsal Sarah, Mason, and Jessi went to rent a movie.  I watched it with them in Mason’s room with half the freshmen Performing Arts students, but Sarah never acknowledged I was there.

I was on duty and I got a call over the radio, so I left to deal with that and never returned.  I went to my room, put on Hymn by Jars of Clay, then put it on repeat, and began to read the Gospel of John.  While reading, a peace came over me.  I have been praying for a while now for God to teach me to love like he loves.  And I realized that he answered my prayer through Sarah.  He showed me how much it hurts when he loves those who do not even acknowledge or look at him.

When I got to the second chapter, there was a knock at my door.

Sarah came in.

She sat on the floor, by the sofa I was sitting on, and laid her head upon me.  I put my arm around her and ran my fingers through her hair.

She began to cry and she didn’t stop until she left, which was about an hour later.

My eyes shed no tears.

She eventually spoke.  “You see a beauty in me that I have yet to see.  I see how much you love and care for me and its the scariest thing I’ve ever known.”

“You ought to be me,” I smiled.

“I just don’t know what to do.”

“Do you want me to let you go?”

“Not completely.”

“I know not completely, but enough where we don’t have to pretend to play this little game?  I can’t stop loving you Sarah, but I can stop trying to show it.  And you know that I’m here if you ever need someone to hold you.”

She continued to cry.

“I’ve known you’ve felt this way for a long time,” I told her, “I just wanted to be come and tell me.”

“I didn’t want to hurt you.”

“You couldn’t hurt me.”

“I don’t want you to have to need me.”

“Sarah, I needed me to love you more than I ever needed you to love me.  What has happened between us is a beautiful thing.  God has told me to love you now, because we both will need it later on.  Please don’t feel guilty.”

We looked at each other for a while.

She broke the silence with, “It’s not like I don’t love you, I do, and you know I’ll always be here,” she placed her hand on my chest, “but I’m just not ready.”

More silence passed.

“I had a cross necklace that I wanted to give you, something that I’ve had for a while that has been very special to me, but it feel out of my pocket today and I lost it.”

The tears poured from her eyes.

“I’m sorry.” I said.

After a few eternal silent moments of unending eye-contact, she finally kissed me on my cheek and said, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”  I said.

January 16, 1998 – Friday – 12:24 a.m.

Boy, was I way off.  Just when I thought I had women all figured out…

I’m not going to go into detail, but Sarah and I are fine.  Thank you God!

Anyway, classes are both difficult and fun, and Cuckoo’s Nest rehearsals are really awesome.  I awoke and thought this was going to be a terrible day, but it has been filled with nothing buy joy!  I even got to minister to Geana a little about some stuff she shared with me.  We seem to be becoming really good friends.

God, you never cease to amaze me.  Forgive me for doubting.  I love you above all else.

 

September 29, 1996 – Sunday – 8:30 a.m.

Yesterday, Kevin and I watched Braveheart while I covered duty for Derek.  We went out to Blowing Rock to have dinner that night.  It was just me, Kevin, Vince, and Curtis.

I went to rehearsal last night.  I got a lot accomplished, so it was good.  Allen and Ellen returned from the Billy Graham Crusade last night.  They got front row seats!  I was a little jealous.

I called Marta last night.  She is meeting me this morning to go to church.

God has been so good to me.  He lifts me higher and higher each day.

I long to love a woman.  To love her just a fraction of how much I love God would be a great victory in my life.  To simply learn to share my existence with someone else.  Can there be a greater challenge?

This morning while brushing my teeth in the bathroom, I thought of Abigail.  Then suddenly, the flickering fluorescent light above me popped into it’s full brightness.

I took it as a sign, but then immediately laughed out loud at myself.

Ahh, here I go again.

June 29, 1996 – Saturday – 10:15 a.m.

Yesterday I worked in the costume shop for four hours on my final exam project.  I ate a small lunch and then worked in the box office until five o’clock.  Allen’s birthday is today, so last night Allen, Kate, Kate’s mom, Sharon, and I went to The Farm House.  The food was good, but very expensive.  A lot of the same people were working from when I was there last Saturday.  They came and sang to Allen for his birthday, we had dessert and then went to the Music Parlor and listened to the singers.

One girl, who came up to give us a special hello, sang “I Dream A Dream” from Les Miserables.  Then she smiled at me the whole time she sang “I’m proud to be an American.”

Afterwards, we walked around the park in Blowing Rock, then took the parkway home.  We went to Sharon’s and Allen and Kate and I went swimming in their indoor pool.  I totally embarrassed myself in front of Bob, because I’m pretty pale and when I took my shirt off I said, “I’m as white as balls!” out loud, totally forgetting I wasn’t only in the presence of teenagers.  Oh well!

Laura was out with some guy, but she eventually returned and looked as beautiful as ever.  Allen and I wonder if every girl we ever meet in the future will helplessly be compared to Laura in our minds.  I suppose that isn’t fair to all the future women we meet, but for now, I don’t mind the thought.  Laura deserves to be at the top.

I walked up from the pool to their house.  The moon was full.  I looked at the silhouette of the mountains against the bright sky.  Oh, that house, the view, the love, I want to be a part of it all.  I want it more than anything.

For as long as that family lives there, it is the most perfect corner of the planet.

 

July 3, 1994 – Sunday – 10:30 p.m.

Can you believe it?  Today was actually a great day!

After church we went to Jenna and Tenielle’s to swim.  Rebecca was over there too.  And even though Kevin and Marcus were around everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

Today, while I was changing in the bathroom I saw a diary of Jenna’s.  There were only two entries written in it, June 3rd and June 4th.  I’m sorry to say, but I read them both.  I was mentioned in both and in the second entry she said that Marcus gave her a yellow rose, but she didn’t accept it.

I’ve been around Jenna and Tenielle for five days in a row.  I’ve been over at their house for four days in a row.  If things go how I want them to, then I’ll see them tomorrow as well.  And as you know, tomorrow is the 4th of July.

Something is up with Scott.  Before youth group started last night, he said he was going to get his Bible, since he had some time.  But he never came back and he wasn’t at church today either.  Earlier that day, he called me at Jenna and Tenielle’s.  He said he was trying to get a hold of me all day.  Then, when we before youth group started he sat alone while Tenielle was off talking to Kevin and Marcus was talking to Jenna.

Scott has no one special in his life.  Cheryl is the only girlfriend he’s had in the past two years and she is now dating the very handsome Joel, who is super muscular and Scott is totally overweight.  It has to hurt.  He doesn’t even have friends to talk to like I have in Jenna and Tenielle.  He thinks that Kevin and Tenielle and Jenna and Marcus are couples.

But they are only friends, just like I’m their friend.

Anyway, he never came back and I’m worried about him.

I have about 55 days until my departure.  And each day as I get closer and closer to the 28th of August, I get closer and closer to the people around me.

Deep Creek is almost here and soon I will stand over the creek that runs next to the Pizza Hut in Bryson City, NC.  There I will think of how the past year has gone since I last stood on that ledge.

My Senior year.

Remember when I shed a lightning tear?

It was over Ryan.

Now I hardly know who she is.

Then I wrecked my stepfather’s car.

Objects in the rearview mirror may appear closer than they are.

Inseparable friends I thought we were.

Now I’m not so sure.

Then Jonathan and I took a College Day

To a place so far away.

Then the sun went down and by the moon two birds did fly

Now, as they circle me, I don’t want to say goodbye.

I seem close to all of this; not far.

But objects in the rearview mirror may appear closer than they are.

I have a gift of 55 days.  I wish I could take the flowers with me, but they must grow in the Son’s rays.

Some things just cannot be.

My winter dream did change.

And they will probably change again.

I’ll soon have a new room to rearrange.

All around will be be beautiful women.

But now I will continue to drive my car,

Until I cross the bar.

From time to time I will look back far, 

And objects in the rearview mirror will appear closer than they are.