December 30, 1995 – Saturday – 5:00 p.m.

Last night was interesting.  Scott and I went to Asheboro.  He wanted to see Toy Story, so I saw it again for the third time.  It was still funny and magical.

After the movie, we just drove around from Asheboro to Pittsboro to Sanford to Siler City.  We had a good talk.  Scott has been through a lot since I last saw him.  He has gotten himself into some weird relationships, but he is good now and seeing a decent girl.  He has a steady job, is getting his own place, and now wants to get married.

I guess it’s the next logical step, but it made me appreciate the fact that I was going to college.  I want a steady job and I want to get married, but I could tell that Scott’s mind hadn’t grown, his worldview hadn’t expanded, he had just surrounded himself with other people who weren’t going to college and it felt like they weren’t really benefitting each other.

This morning was really difficult.  I am so used to waking up in my own room with no one there to get in the way and everything working smoothly.  Everything went so wrong this morning and I got really homesick and angry.

My own mother, rather than saying she understood what I was going through and trying to empathize with me, just said that if I acted that way when I was married that I wouldn’t be married for long.

I asked her why she always has to bring marriage up with me.  Just because she got divorced didn’t mead I would.  I told her that who I am now, the angry person that I am, the frustrations, the sadness; it’s not me.  I can’t be me in this house.  I was me when I was on that stage at Heaton Christian Church surrounded by all of those children in Lone Star Gulch.  I can be me in Banner Elk, because there I feel loved and I love and it feels like home and I feel a beating heart in my chest!

Home is where the heart is.

I couldn’t stand it anymore.  I was in tears.  I grabbed the rollerblades that Vince let me borrow and I drove to Sanford.  I rollerbladed at Kiwanis, listened to my new Enya tape and tried to remember me.  I even read all of the journal entries in this section that I wrote while at home in Banner Elk.

I’m doing a lot better now.

As I was driving back, I realized that 1995 was over.  I don’t have my other journals with me, so I will just have to depend on my memory for this.

In 1993 you read about a 17-year-old loving a youth group that would eventually fall apart by the time 1994 arrived.  I got a job at McDonald’s, I dreamed Winter Dreams, I met Emily, and just before the year ended I met Jenna and Tenielle.

In 1994 I wrote to Emily while adoring and being adored by my new friends Jenna and Tenielle.  I went to Deep Creek with Jonathan.  I went to Fishnet.  I said goodbye as a storm blew me away to a world I began to love.

I was taken to Cincinnati.

In fact, I was in Cincinnati when 1995 began.  But I threw Cincinnati away and Emily and I wrote and fell in love with each other’s written words.  A summer of McDonald’s, water gun fights, movies, Fishnet, and Crestview came and went as well as my heart.  A wonderful semester began with my birthday, new friends, and Antigone.  Others saw me as talented.  My pen pal came back to me, and now I dream of a beautiful girl and a beautiful cottage while saying goodbye to the waterfall as it flows back to Florida.

And then the snow came, and the Christmas play, but I had to say goodbye and grew horribly homesick the first day I was away.

. . .

And so 1996 is just over a  day away.  I try to find a single phrase to sum up 1995, but I can’t.

All is said and done.  The unspoken words cannot be taken back.  I will not try to forget.  I will not try to remember.

Is it really just a little planet.?

Do I have any control?

Are my smiles and frowns really mine?

I often wonder if I’m really on this little planet.  If this is really my face.  It’s as if I was in heaven, at home, and the Lord came up to me and said, “I’m sorry Jacob, but it’s your time.  You have to go down to earth.  You have to have a body, and you have to try and survive down.  It won’t take long, just a little while.  And don’t worry, I’ll help you until it’s time to return.”

It’s like I was handed a mask and told I wasn’t able to take it off.  Only God can do that.

Do people see the mask, or do they see me?

What do I see?

I don’t know, and I’ll drive myself crazy trying to figure it out.  All I know is that I’m on my way home; not only to Banner Elk, but to Heaven.

And I have only one wish, just one thing I pray…

That I remember only the good days, that I remember all of the best days.  That I forget the pain, the shame and that I only remember the joys, only the love.

Only the love, as I walk on the roads under heaven.

December 29, 1995 – Friday – 12:32 p.m.

I got a call from Scott yesterday while I was watching Big.  We made plans for today.  He should come over later.  Then I began watching Never Cry Wolf.  It was during that movie that I heard a knock at my door.  I ran to the kitchen and opened it.

There stood Jonathan.  His hair had been cut, he had dyed it back to its natural color, and he had taken out all of his nose and ear rings.  He looked like a normal American.

He had come from his grandmother’s and needed a place to stay until tomorrow.  I said he could stay here.  We spent some time talking.  It was difficult at first since it had been so long, but after a while things were just like old times and we played monopoly with Nate.  I won and it had gotten pretty late, so he made a bed on the floor in front of the fire we had built.

Time passed and Henry got home from work, saw Jonathan and immediately took him into another room.  Two minutes later, Jonathan returned and painfully said, “I’m going to get my things, drive somewhere, and sleep in my car.”

I don’t know the details, but I guess Henry had some differences with Jonathan from this past summer and told him that he wasn’t welcome here.  I then took my Bible and found the verse that said, “I was a stranger and you took me in.”  I read it to Henry and said, “If Jesus wants us to take in strangers, wouldn’t he want us to take in friends?”

He immediately screamed at me, pointed his finger directly in my face and shouted, “DON’T TELL ME HOW TO RUN THIS HOUSEHOLD!!”

So, Jonathan packed his things.  We went outside and put them in his car.  My body was shaking, partly because of the freezing cold, but mainly because I was terrified for my homeless friend.

And then he left, headed towards Raleigh I suppose.  Before he left, he reached out his hand for me to shake.  It was cold and trembling.

And then he was gone.

Adventure.

At least he is not bored.

Scott will be here in a few hours.  We will probably go to Asheboro.

An old friend.  And I’m only 19.

 

December 28, 1995 – Thursday – 12:36 a.m.

It’s early Thursday morning.  Today was really fun.

Mike and I went to Asheboro.  We saw Jumanji.  It was so good.  Just what I needed.  We also did some shopping.  I spent over $100 today.  I bought the movie Big, a shirt, some pants, a tie, and well, I know this sounds crazy, but I bought a hat, a fedora, just like the one Indiana Jones wears.

I guess watching all those old shows the other day had an affect on me.

Mike and I also went to some thrift bakery and bought $20 of sweets for three bucks.  It was great.

Church was also good.  It seemed like the days of long ago.  Some people might be gone, but God doesn’t change.  I realized tonight while praising the Lord that the power of Abundant Life is still there.  That church has taught me so much, introduced me to so many people, and taken me so many places.

Thank you Father.

After church, Mike and Marcus came over and we played monopoly.  I won, but it took a long time.

Truthfully, I’m actually glad I’m here.  It makes me appreciate Banner Elk so much more and at the same time it reminds me of how much I love this place.

The Lord is amazing.  You just have to trust him.  You just have to love him.

Be good.

It’s that simple.

December 26, 1995 – Tuesday – 10:12 p.m.

Christmas has come and gone.

I got some nice things; nice clothes.  But for this year, the joy of Christmas for me was at Heaton, with the kid’s Christmas show.  That is how I celebrated the birth of my best friend this year.

I’m back in Siler City now.  Today was pretty slow.  I watched some movies and the old Young Indiana Jones Chronicles I recorded off of TV four or five years ago.

I had fun.

I’m excited about starting another semester again, and about hopefully doing a one-act show.

Please give me the right role Father.

 

December 24, 1995 – 8:16 p.m. – Sunday

I’m at my dad’s parent’s house; in the same room I was for Thanksgiving.  I am bored and lonely.  So, I took out my wallet and took out all the pictures and began looking at them one by one.  I very rarely ever clean my wallet out, so there were a lot of old pictures of people from long ago.

I will list the people on those pictures, some names will appear more than once.  As you read each one (they should be familiar to you if you have read these Books of Days) think about the times we’ve had together.

Jenna and Tenielle

Jeni

Christi

Vicky and Jonathan

Jenna

Tenielle

Emily

Veronica

Kate and Jonathan

Brandon

Amy

Tammy and Sherry

Nana

Misty

Tenielle

Ryan, Cheryl, Christi, and Amy

Jenna

Nate

Sherry

Lisa

Tammy

Haley

Tim and Tammy

Veronica

So many names.  A full page.

I bought a camera this summer.  It cost me $170.  I take a lot of pictures.  I usually get a roll of 36 and take pictures over months.  I’m almost through with a roll of 36.

Every time I take a picture, it is like I’m illustrating my own story.  Some pictures go in my Books of Days; others go in my photo albums.  Only one picture listed on the other side of this page came from Lees-McRae: Jeni.

All of the others are from my ancient world of Siler City and Sanford.

What about the names from Banner Elk?  How long would that list of pictures be if I had them?

Charlie

Kate

Vince

Dan

Allen

Jeff

Mike

Curtis

Derek

Tracey

Sharon, Bob, Melissa, Laura, Hannah

Leslie, Doug, Crystal, Clifton

Marty & Stan

Rachel

Becky

Rebecca

Suzanne

Pat, Gary, Meredith, Caroline, Megan

I could fill up this page with tons of other names.  I spent a whole year with some of these people, yet when Christmas comes around they are no where around me, and I feel like I’m surrounded by strangers.

It is as if the joys of Christmas come when I am with them and December 25th is no where to be found.

I remember when Christmas Eve meant a night of excitement and sleeplessness.  Now tonight; there is nothing.

Last night, I watched It’s a Wonderful Life.  I’ve seen it dozens of times, but while watching it last night, I cried for the first time.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I feel incomplete.  I feel sad, lonely, and confused because I cannot find the other side of me.

 

December 24, 1995 – Sunday – 4:30 p.m.

I went to church with the my grandparents this morning.  Then we went to see Sabrina.  It was sweet and fun, but not perfect.

The sun is beginning to set now.  It doesn’t feel like Christmas at all.  I spend every Christmas in Toano or Lenexa, Virginia.  I really don’t even know what town it is.

I’m in the parking lot of Farm Fresh, Ronnie and Sissy are inside.  They came to pick me up after the movie.  We are going to a dinner at someone’e house.  I’m not sure whose.  I think I’m distantly related to them, but I’m not sure.

In Christmas Comes to Lone Star Gulch we sang a song called “Christmas isn’t Christmas ’til it happens in your heart.”

Christmas is Jesus.

Jesus is God.

God is love.

Why doesn’t it feel like Christmas?

 

December 23, 1995 – Saturday – 11:17 a.m.

From my parents last night, I received some clothes, a cassette case, some tapes, and some mousse for my hew haircut.

It was fun.

There was some talk last night concerning Tenielle and Kevin and John.  I don’t know everything; I don’t need to know everything.  None of it concerns me whatsoever.  But John has lost some sense of reality.  He feels trapped because of his job, his wife, and his five kids.  Tenielle has never had a father figure and she clung to Shurby just like she clung to John.  But Shurby didn’t let his life get out of whack, just because a beautiful 14-year-old girl adored him.  To John however, it made him feel young again.  He grew jealous of Kevin and abused his authority as youth pastor to try and tell him what to do.  Kevin went to Pastor Steve and Pastor Steve ordered John to never go near Tenielle again and takes him down from his position as youth pastor and as trumpet player on the worship team.

John’s marriage however, is falling apart.  Kevin is discouraged because he looked up to John, his lifestyle, his family, and John threw it all away.  Kevin told me last night that it tore up his spiritual life so much that he couldn’t even pray or read the Bible anymore.

And Pastor Steve feels like he is all alone in trying to take care of these people.  He feels like no one is listening.  He feels like a failure.

I see all of this.  I have eyes.  I am a red light.

But Pastor Steve is not a failure.  He has saved me.  He has changed my life.  Abundant Life may be dying around him, but there is an abundant life in me that is helping my world:  Banner Elk.

He helped bring Allen to the Lord and I’m going to tell him that.

Endtime Warriors.

Emmanuel Players.

Abundant Life.

They will never die.

And I will see to that.