August 17, 1997 – Sunday – 2:00 p.m.

I have turned 21-years-old.  For me, the summer ends today.  RD training is over.  RA training is beginning.  I have moved to the McAlister RD apartment.  I have unpacked.  All I need to do now is decorate my walls.

Over the past week, I have had three different letters written to me from three different girls:

“Jacob, I just wanted to thank you for being my friend and welcoming me so kindly.  Without you I would have spent these past three weeks all alone in my room.  You are a very sweet guy and I’m going to miss you.  I wish I could stay longer.  Time sure does fly!  I wish this summer didn’t have to end, but I guess all good things have to end eventually.  I will always remember these three weeks as the highlight of my summer.  Thank you for giving me a chance to become your friend.  You will never be forgotten!  Love, Jeanine”

“Hey Jacob, that’s really cool about your deer encounter.  I want to go up there and meet it.  Yes, I’m going to accept the RA job.  I’m already thinking about what programs I want to do.  Did I tell you about my wedding?  No, it’s not anytime soon, I don’t have a guy, I just decided where I want it to be.  Cannonball Mesa!  It’s this cool place out in the middle of nowhere.  I rode out on my bike to the end of the mesa and looked out at the landscape.  The wind was blowing.  I’m going to get married there when the sun rises to symbolize new beginnings and it will be beautiful.  Guess what??  I was thinking today and I decided to rewrite my rules of dating.  I decided it was unrealistic to say that I would only date a guy I would marry because I don’t know what kind of guy I want to marry.  Also, I’ve only been involved with two guys in my life and neither of them had any kind of respect for me.  I don’t even know what a good relationship is.  Love, Jessica”

“Jacob, let me start by saying I love you and end it with thanking you for helping me find my missing part and as we speak it’s being filled with God’s love.  I am so thankful for your awesome friendship and how much you have helped me realize that God is a major part of my life and he will help me through everything!  If it wasn’t for your love and willingness to help, I would never have been so close to the Lord and Jesus.  Thank you so much!  I love you with all my heart and really appreciate everything that you have helped me with this summer.  Thanks for everything.  This has been the best summer of my life and it wouldn’t be complete without you and the wonderful Lord.  Jacob, I feel so much better now that I’ve found him.  I am almost going to cry because I feel so free, just like you and your eagles.  I’m going to miss you so much.  Please write me all the time and send me e-mail too.  I know I will write you all the time!  When the summer comes again, I hope you will be here and definitely Thanksgiving because I’m coming up then.  I can’t wait to see you if you’ll be up here.  If I don’t get to see you over the summer, please keep writing and give me your address to where you are and I will always write to you…my future husband!  Thanks for our perfect friendship!  Please keep in touch.  Happy 21st birthday!  Love, Marisa.”

Jeanine has gone back to Concord.

Jessica will be here a week from Tuesday.

Marisa left for Florida today.

Take care of them Lord.

August 16 – 1997 – Saturday – 1:27 a.m.

The RD staff plus Allen and Vince went to Carowinds today.  I had fun.  It was great to be outside all day.  When I got home there was a letter under my door from Maresa.  It just said that she wanted me to call her when I got back cause she wanted to talk with me and pray with me about something.  I called her and she came over.  We laid in my bed and talked about God for a long time.  And tonight, or this morning rather, she rededicated her life back to God and eagerly asked many questions about heaven and Jesus.  We had a great talk.  I praise God for that beautiful 15-year-old red-head!  She made this summer twice as fun.

Wednesday night after church, Allen, Vince and I had our small group and prayed.  We talked about the Holy Spirit and Allen said he wanted to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  I prayed for him briefly.  Then he started praying in the spirit.  He fell to the ground, cried, then jumped around and everything.

God is amazing.

It’s great to be alive.

August 13, 1997 – Wednesday – 7:55 a.m.

Last night after I videotaped the forum, I came to my room and sat in its emptiness.

The dorm is empty again.  Just like it was in the beginning.

Sherlive came to mind.  I called her at 9:30 p.m. last night and said goodbye at 11:15 p.m.

A wonderful and beautiful conversation.  We talked so deeply of God, each other, ourselves, and us.  We complemented each other.  We talked about how it is amazing that we were complete strangers but nonetheless poured our hearts out to each other and accepted each other blindly.

Her soul is full of deep waters where I would love to drown.  Thank you for her God.  She just came out of nowhere.

August 12, 1997 – Tuesday – 12:40 p.m.

All of the summer theater people are gone.  The season is over.  That story is finished.

Lindy and I in the box office.  Marisa and I talking until two in the morning.  Jeanine and I walking in the darkness of Hemlock Hill.  These are the girls that summer theater brought me.  And with each one I shared Jesus.

One girl who came along, but not because of summer theater, is Sherlive.  And I pray I am never without her friendship.

Allen has also kissed Crystal.  He does not anticipate or plan these things.  Girls are just all over him these days.  Neither of us know why.

RD training is going well.  I am now CPR and first-aid certified.  I move into McAlister by the end of the week.  New Freshman arrive a week later.  Jessica, Abigail, Josh, and all are returning.

But Curtis will not be.

Hello.

Goodbye.

August 10, 1997 – Sunday – 4:05 p.m.

Marisa turns 15 today.  I turn 21 in a week.

Dan has gone home.  The place feels empty.  This next week I will move to McAlister; I’ll have a smaller apartment with one less room than this one.

It just started to rain.

For the next hour and a half, I’ll exist quietly in these three rooms.  I will listen to slow and soothing music, and I will read and write.  At 5:30 p.m. I will go back to the box office to sell tickets and I’ll enjoy the show again tonight.

Jeanine will sleep in here tonight since her mom is visiting and will take her bed.

RD training begins on Monday and I will also check everyone out of Tennessee Dorm between Monday and Wednesday.

Children of Eden ends tomorrow.  Lindy and I began with three full ticket racks and now we are nearly empty.  Everyone has loved this show.

My final year of college is so close.  How different it will be.  My rounds will now include seven buildings instead of just two hallways.  I will tackle directing and horseback riding.

So my simple and relaxing summer will soon end and I will never live in these walls again.  What have these walls seen?  Jeni and I kissing.  Dan and I wondering.  Charlie crying over Kate.  And me watching Sherlive as she slept.

The summer of 1997.

Nothing ever stays the same.

Charlie and I went to see Conspiracy Theory last night.  I enjoyed it.  I helped Charlie in Junior Worship this morning and ate with Tracey and her family plus Lindy and Ann-Marie at the Banner Elk Cafe.

It’s difficult for me to remember who I was before Lees-McRae.  I almost feel like my senior year will be the last year of my life.  Leaving this place seems close to death.

But surely there are no real goodbyes among Christians.

It’s 4:45 p.m.

Am I still living in my youth?  Or are those days gone?

4:47 p.m.

And so…well…

Weird, huh?

 

August 9, 1997 – Saturday – 9:30 a.m.

Children of Eden opened Thursday night.  It was so amazing!  Sherlive was able to see it with me last night.  She even dressed up.  Wow!  She is simply beautiful.  I had so much fun being around her and laughing with her.

She says she is looking forward to coming to school.  I pray we slowly become best friends.  She has such a baby face.  Her cheeks rise up so beautifully when she smiles.  I want to make her smile.  I’ve done it a few times already.

And each time was an eternal instant.

August 7, 1997 – Thursday – 8:30 a.m.

Good morning.

Charlie, Dan, and Allen made large cross that stands on a rock down Elk River.  We went there Tuesday night, sang praises, and prayed to God.

I talked to Allen about the Jeanine thing.  He has tried to bury every sexual desire he’s ever had.  He won’t even look at girls.  He should just let go, and praise God that he is a sexual being with a healthy sex drive.  It’s how God made us.  Instead these buried desires erupt in unhealthy ways.  He admits that he just gets stupid when he is around her.

It got my haircut yesterday morning.  I like it.  I went to a new place in Newland and they gave me a head massage as well.  It was awesome.

Church was fun last night, but I got a little sick during worship.  Sherlive showed up a little late, it was so good to see her.  We talked after church.  I got a smiley face pencil while at Chrysalis and she often wears a smiley face necklace.  I gave her the pencil and she had the coolest smile on her face.  She really seemed to like it.  She said it was spiffy.  We played the piano together and talked some about music.  I asked her if she would like to see Children of Eden with me on Friday.  Hopefully she can.  She has to talk to her parents about it.  I told her I would call her on Friday.  We said our goodbyes and she hoped to got to feeling better.

I did.

Then that night, Dan and I put on some Jewel and talked deeply about life and God.  How long was God there before he created us?  Who made God?  Why is all of this what it is?

We talked of everything…of forbidden fruit, fallen angels, the Ten Commandments, a son who died for our sins, Saul turning to Paul, my love for stories, and how God is an amazing story teller, who includes all of us in the perfect plot of redemption and salvation.

It’s so great having Dan stay with me this month.  He’s the truest of friends.